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Les toits à Sarcelles

Les toits à Sarcelles
signed 'Maurice Utrillo' (lower left)
oil on panel
21 ¼ x 28 5⁄8 in. (54 x 72.7 cm.)
Painted circa 1910
Galerie Lepoutre, Paris (by 1919).
Adolphe Basler, Paris.
Sam Salz, Inc., New York.
Ralph F. Colin family collection, New York (acquired from the above, by 1949); sale, Christie's, New York, 7 May 2014, lot 302.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
F. Carco, Maurice Utrillo, Paris, 1921, p. 23 (illustrated; dated 1908).
A. Tabarant, Utrillo, Paris, 1926, p. 20 (illustrated).
P. Pétridès, L'oeuvre complet de Maurice Utrillo, Paris, 1959, vol. I, p. 262, no. 213 (illustrated, p. 263).
Paris, Galerie Lepoutre, Exposition d'oeuvres de Maurice Utrillo, December 1919, p. 14, no. 30 (titled Village de Sarcelles).
New York, The Century Association, Trends in European Painting 1880-1938, February-March 1949, no. 14 (illustrated).
Northampton, Massachusetts, Smith College Museum of Art, Works of Art Belonging to Alumnae, May-June 1950, p. 23, no. 80.
Washington, D.C., The Phillips Gallery, A Loan Exhibition of Early Paintings by Maurice Utrillo, December 1953-January 1954, no. 2 (dated 1909).
New York, M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., The Colin Collection, April-May 1960, no. 52 (illustrated; dated 1909).
Further details
The late Jean Fabris has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

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Lot Essay

The present work depicts the rooftops of Sarcelles, on the northern outskirts of Paris. Painted circa 1910, Les toits à Sarcelles typifies Utrillo's celebrated early series of urban settings, its assured brushwork and cream tones to the façades marking the beginnings of the distinctive "White Period" which characterized his work from 1909-1914.
Utrillo's work from this time, which would make his reputation, are notable for their balance of vigorous modernity and presumed naiveté. As art critic Edmond Jaloux commented in 1925: "perhaps one is at first surprised by a certain naivet in his manner of painting, by a certain simplicity in his way of feeling... In point of fact, naiveté and ingeniousness are more apparent than real, however, for one has only to examine with care a canvas by Utrillo to see to what extent one is dealing with a true painter; that is to say, an artist possessing a subtle, varied, and complex sense of color, and making use of admirable materials with which he imparts something magnificently luxurious to the dejected, desperate aspects of modern life" (quoted in A. Tabarant, op. cit, 1926, p. 234).

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