Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more PROPERTY FROM THE PERSONAL COLLECTION OF MAX G. BOLLAG, ZURICH
Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

La Rue Norvins à Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)
La Rue Norvins à Montmartre
signed 'Maurice.Utrillo.V.' (lower right)
oil on board
19 3/8 x 24 1/2 in. (49.2 x 62.2 cm.)
Painted circa 1910-1912
Private collection, Geneva.
Max G. Bollag, Zurich, by whom acquired from the above circa 1951.
L. Fuchs, Zurich, by whom acquired from the above on 12 December 1981.
Max. G. Bollag, Zurich, by whom acquired from the above on 5 May 1991, and thence by descent to the present owners.
J. Fabris & C. Paillier, L'oeuvre complet de Maurice Utrillo, Paris, 2009, no. 178, p. 592 (illustrated p. 238).
Bern, Kunsthalle, Europäische Kunst aus Berner Privatbesitz, July - September 1953, no. 132 (illustrated).
Vevey, Musée Jenisch, Maurice Utrillo, Amedeo Modigliani, Andre´ Utter, Suzanne Valadon, July - September 1955, no. 29.
Kobe, Daimaru Museum, Maurice Utrillo, Le 120eme anniversaire de la naissance, March - April 2003, no. 6 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Kyoto, Daimaru Museum; Sapporo, Gallery Daimaru; Hokkaido, The Kushiro Art Museum; and Hokkaido, Hakodate Museum of Art.

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Michelle McMullan, Specialist, Head of Day Sale
Michelle McMullan, Specialist, Head of Day Sale

Lot Essay

The period around 1910 to 1912 in which Utrillo painted the present work, was a crucial juncture in his early career. Although his application to the École des Beaux Arts had been rejected in 1909, Utrillo gained initial recognition from both critics and collectors. The dealer Louis Libaude signed a contract with him and promised his mother, the painter Suzanne Valadon, that he would look after her son. Soon after, three of Utrillo's landscapes were shown at the Salon d'Automne. Utrillo tried to work outdoors, but was unnerved by attention from onlookers, and so he retired to his studio on the rue Cortot in Montmartre, where he worked from memory and from his supply of postcards which his mother had given him.

It was during this time that Utrillo realized a personal and unmistakable style in his Manìere blanche, the 'White Period', so named for the bleached and ashen palette he employed in his views of Paris. Utrillo sometimes even mixed plaster with his white oil colours to mimic the weathered facades of buildings.

Utrillo's most frequent subjects were buildings in the Paris neighbourhood of Montmartre, and like La Rue Norvins, they were represented numerous times with only slight variations from canvas to canvas. La Rue Norvins is a magnificent example from the Period blanche, notable for its solid and meticulous rendering of perspective, heavily impastoed buildings, and featured at the centre, the most famed landmark of the 18th arrondissement of Paris - the glorious Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre.

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