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Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)
Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Portrait de Madame Zborowska

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)
Portrait de Madame Zborowska
signed 'Maurice.Utrillo.V.' (lower right)
oil on board laid down on panel
13¾ x 10 in. (35 x 25.4 cm.)
Painted in 1916
Anon. sale, Maître Blache, Versailles, 6 June 1973, lot 175.
Edouard Herriot, (former Prime Minister of France), Paris.
P. Pétridès, L'oeuvre complet de Maurice Utrillo, Paris, 1974, vol. V, p. 180, no. 2606 (illustrated, p. 181).

Lot Essay

Jean Fabris has confirmed the authenticity of this work and will include it in his forthcoming catalogue raisonne being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Institute.

The sitter for this portrait, Hanka Zborowska, is most famous as a subject of Amedeo Modigliani's portraits. Zborowska was the daughter of a Polish aristocrat who came to Paris with her husband, Modigliani's friend and primary dealer, the poet Leopold Zborowski. Zborowski took over the management of Modigliani's affairs from Paul Guillaume in 1917 and the couple together devoted their energies to supporting the artist materially and morally, providing him with everything from models and portrait commissions to room and board. Hanka Zborowska was the most readily available female model, and she would become one of Modigliani's most frequent sitters.

In the present work, Utrillo appropriates both the subject and style of his illustrious contemporary; the deep crimson and black hues of the background and the prominent outlining of the face, eyes and nose, are all classic examples of Modigliani's stylistic tropes. It is not an unusual experiment for an artist who trained himself by copying postcards of famous artworks, as his artist-mother Suzanne Valodon instructed Utrillo to do.

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