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Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE DISTINGUISHED COLLECTION
Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

La rue Marcadet à Montmartre

Details
Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)
La rue Marcadet à Montmartre
signed 'Maurice. Utrillo. V.' (lower right)
oil on canvas
31 7/8 x 39½ in. (81 x 100.3 cm.)
Painted circa 1910-1912
Provenance
Galerie Barbazanges, Paris (by 1925).
Galerie Georges Petit, Paris (by 1932).
Galerie Etienne Bignou, Paris.
Acquired by the present owner, 2002.
Literature
A. Basler, Maurice Utrillo, Paris, 1931, p. 30 (illustrated).
M. Mermillon, Collection des maîtres, Utrillo, Paris, 1948, pl. 6 (illustrated).
P. Pétridès, L'oeuvre complet de Maurice Utrillo, Paris, 1959, vol. I, p. 242, no. 193 (illustrated, p. 243).
J. Fabris and C. Paillier, L'oeuvre complet de Maurice Utrillo, Paris, 2009, p. 576, no. 100 (illustrated, p. 160).
Exhibited
Paris, Galerie Hodebert, Maurice Utrillo, 1924, no. 90.
Paris, Galerie Barbazanges, Exposition d'oeuvres anciennes de Maurice Utrillo, January 1925, no. 59.
Glasgow, Reid & Son Gallery and London, Lefevre & Son Gallery, Important pictures by Maurice Utrillo, October-November 1925, no. 20 (illustrated).
Paris, Galerie André Schoeller, Exposition d'oeuvres importantes de Maurice Utrillo au profit de la Société des amis du Louvre, May-June 1934, no. 27 (dated 1913).
London, Alex. Reid & Lefevre, Ltd. (The Lefevre Galleries), Maurice Utrillo, The White Period (1910-1915), October-November 1935, no. 15.
New York, Bignou Gallery, Maurice Utrillo, The White Period (1911-1914), January-February 1937, no. 11 (illustrated).
London, Alex. Reid & Lefevre, Ltd. (The Lefevre Galleries), The Tragic Painters, June 1938, no. 30.

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David Kleiweg de Zwaan
David Kleiweg de Zwaan

Lot Essay

The artist and model Suzanne Valadon encouraged her son Maurice Utrillo to paint by having him copy postcards of the winding, narrow streets of Montmartre, which had become the artistic center of Paris by the early 1900s. After six years of hard work and little reward the young artist had his first success depicting this urban landscape in 1909 when three of his paintings were included in the Salon d'Automne and the writer and art dealer Louis Libaude purchased a number of his works. Clovis Sagot, a former clown and pastry chef with an eye for the Paris avant-garde, sold Utrillo's paintings (and an occasional Picasso as well) out of a former pharmacy on rue Lafite, a few doors down from Ambroise Vollard's gallery.

The present large canvas depicts the attractive Rue Marcadet in the Goutte d'Or area of Montmartre. Painted in 1910, La rue Marcadet à Montmartre belongs to the period in which Utrillo developed his distinctive manière blanche, employing bleached tonalities, rigorous perspective and an uncanny firmness of construction. Roland Dorgelès recounted how "his production never seemed faithful enough for him...To render color, he crushed his tubes of paint and went into a rage when he couldn't find the right one. 'They're not in silver-white, the façades, are they? Not in zinc white...They are made of plaster...' He absolutely needed to obtain the exact same chalky white" (quoted in D. Franck, Bohemian Paris, New York, 2001, p. 10). The artist emphasizes the austerity of the urban environment through this use of pale tonalities and in the repetitive pattern produced the rows of windows, which create a receding grid-like structure.

Although his life was plagued by alcoholism and self-destruction, Utrillo's artistic genius was unwavering with a remarkable gift for composition and unerring sense of color relation. Not long after the present work was painted, Utrillo's agent the dealer Louis Libaude observed, "Maurice Utrillo is the painter of Montmartre. Since Lupine, I believe no other artist has been able to render with such acute sensitivity the charm of this little provincial town, isolated on the summit of Paris. Utrillo excels in painting the cracked walls of the old houses. The smallest miserable façade takes on in his paintings an extraordinary intensity of color and life" (Maurice Utrillo, exh. cat., Galerie Eugène Blot, Paris, 1913).

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