Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Rue à Hyères

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)
Rue à Hyères
signed 'Maurice. Utrillo. V.' (lower left)
oil on canvas
23 5/8 x 32 in. (60 x 81 cm.)
Painted circa 1912
Louis Libaude, Paris.
Matthiesen Gallery, London.
Marion and Gustave Ring, Washington.
Cooper collection, London.
Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, 29 June 1987, lot 44 (GBP 176,000). Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, New York, 8 November 2006, lot 542 ($273,600).
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
P. Pétridès, L'oeuvre complet de Maurice Utrillo, vol. I, Paris, 1962, no. 341, p. 406 (illustrated p. 407).
L. Cavallo, Maurice Utrillo - La città dipinta, Milan, 2007, pp. 43-45, no. 1 (illustrated p. 45).
J. Fabris & C. Paillier, L'oeuvre complet de Maurice Utrillo, Paris, 2009, no. 453, p. 531 (illustrated).
Pittsburg, Museum of Art, Utrillo, October - December 1963, no. 44 (illustrated).
Philadelphia, Museum of Art, Maurice Utrillo, October - December 1983.
Washington, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Selection from the Collection of Marion and Gustave Ring, October 1985 - December 1986, no. 49 (illustrated).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Antoine Lebouteiller
Antoine Lebouteiller

Lot Essay

Painted circa 1912, Rue à Hyères was executed at the apogee of Maurice Utrillo's much celebrated époque blanche. Son of Suzanne Valadon, a painter who also modelled for many Montmartre's artists, such as Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Utrillo started painting at a young age, encouraged by his family who hoped art would distract the young boy from his drinking habit. Legend has it that his mother would lock him up in a room, away from the wine taverns, and give him postcards of streets and city corners to copy. Much of Utrillo's accomplished work derived from that fortuitous first acquaintance with painting, as he continued throughout his career to paint city landscapes, often derived from photographs.

The linear and symmetrical perspective of Rue à Hyères suggests that the work may have been executed from one of those popular postcards. Although Utrillo was known to painstakingly transfer all the details onto the canvas, the work eschews the objective reality of the photograph. By orchestrating soft tones of whites, greys and light blues, Rue à Hyères transforms the image of this provincial avenue into a geometric abstraction of colours and forms. Not satisfied with the white tones he could achieve using zinc white, during his époque blanche Utrillo used a mix of glue and plaster, which enabled him to faithfully recreate the dusty, luminous white of the houses' walls.

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