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

Le Maquis de Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)
Le Maquis de Montmartre
signed 'Maurice, Utrillo, V,' (lower right); inscribed '-Montmartre,-' (lower left)
oil on canvas
29 1/8 x 39 3/8 in. (73.9 x 100 cm.)
Painted circa 1935
Galerie Pétridès, Paris.
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, 23 June 1993, lot 359.
Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, 8 February 2005, lot 258.
P. Pétridès, L'Oeuvre complet de Maurice Utrillo, vol. III, Paris, 1969, no. 1564 (illustrated p. 111).
Tokyo, Central Museum, Maurice Utrillo, March - May 1967, no. 98 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Kyoto, May - June 1967, Fukuoka, June - July 1967 and Nagoya, July 1967.
Tokyo, Daimaru Museum, Maurice Utrillo, September 1992, no. 77 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Kyoto, Daimaru Museum, September - October 1992, Osaka, Daimaru Museum, October 1992, Shimonosek, October - November 1992 and Onomichi, Municipal Museum, November - December 1992.
Oita, Prefectural Museum, Exposition Maurice Utrillo, August - September 1998, no. 72 (illustrated p. 117); this exhibition later travelled to Kyoto, Eki Museum, Saga, Prefectural Museum and Chiba, Chiba Sogo Museum.
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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

Few artists are as associated with a single area as Maurice Utrillo and Montmartre. The artist celebrated the Paris hill and its housing, which changed gradually during his own lifetime, whether he was in situ or working from afar, revealing his profound link to the place. That link is clear in pictures such as Le Maquis de Montmartre, which was painted circa 1935. In this work, he shows the so-called Maquis de Montmartre, formerly a marshy area which was gradually improved and formed the foundation for part of Avenue Junot. The picture is filled with the textural details that make Utrillo's works so immediate: his famous whites are present in various areas, sometimes revealing a chalky feel that brings the plaster-coated walls of Montmartre to vivid life. Meanwhile, this picture appears to show life, be it in the form of the colourful figures on the street, the young leaves of the trees that are scattered around the composition and which have been rendered with a darting energy using flecks of green, or indeed the iconic windmill and church which discreetly dominate the skyline at the top of the composition.

Utrillo's choice of motif in Le Maquis de Montmartre allows these icons of Parisian architecture and culture to intrude while nonetheless depicting a more 'real' aspect of Montmartre. The gleaming, pointed dome of the Sacré Coeur is partially occluded by a tree; however, the Moulin de la Galette, the celebrated meeting place and former flour mill, occupies a more dominant position. This iconic building, which has been moved and altered over the centuries, has been painted by a host of artists: Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec created celebrated images of the balls that were held there, while Vincent van Gogh painted it several times from afar during his time in Paris in the 1880s, showing it from angles similar to that selected by Utrillo here. However, in Van Gogh's day, the mill was surrounded by greenery, whereas the city had encroached enough by Utrillo's day that it was a thriving neighbourhood, one that remained heavily linked to the artistic community in the French capital over the decades. Through the influence of those avant garde figures, Utrillo developed a manner of depicting the Paris street scenes that was at once immersive and highly expressive, as is the case in Le Maquis de Montmartre, which is dominated by tranches of light paint yet punctuated by flashes of bold and intense colour, be it in the leaves or in the various buildings and their shutters.

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