Maurice Utrillo

The Parisian district of Montmartre was the beating heart of Belle Époque bohemianism. In its nightclubs and brothels, an extraordinary artistic revolution was fermented. Impressionism, a movement captivated by light and movement, had taken artists out of the city to paint en plein air, but by the late 1800s a new and urban approach saw artists enthralled by the heady carnival underworld of the fin-de-siècle metropolis.

It was in this atmosphere of excess — and in the district of Montmartre itself — that French painter Maurice Utrillo was born to Suzanne Valadon, a teenage artist’s model. Utrillo’s life would be dogged by mental-health issues and alcoholism, and yet from it he would forge one of the most important Post-Impressionist bodies of work — a melancholy, lugubrious vision of the streets of Montmartre painted from life or, when his health did not allow, from postcards and memory.

Suzanne Valadon, Utrillo’s mother, would become a successful painter herself. Mentored by Degas, she began teaching the young Utrillo after being advised that painting would be beneficial to her son’s rehabilitation following his first institutionalisation for alcoholism at the age 18. Although Valadon’s friend, Spanish painter Miguel Utrillo y Morlius, gave Utrillo his name, his father was variously rumoured to be Renoir or Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, for whom Valadon had posed.

By 1909, Utrillo was painting extraordinary Post-Impressionist street scenes and was exhibiting at the Salon d’Automne in Paris and, by 1912, in the Salon des Indépendants. It was a period marked by a radical bleaching of his palette as white became his predominant tone, and he began mixing paint with glue and lime, producing masterpieces such as La Rue Norvins à Montmartre (c.1910).

Utrillo suffered a series of alcoholic breakdowns throughout his long life, and would live with his mother until his marriage in 1935. By then he was a hugely successful and prolific artist who had painted more than 5,000 canvases, almost all of them street scenes. In 1928 he was awarded the Légion d’Honneur.


MAURICE UTRILLO (1883-1955)

La Maison de Berlioz

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Le maquis de Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Pontoise. Rue de l'Eperon et rue de la Coutellerie

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Rue du Mont-Cenis à Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

La rue Marcadet à Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Le Maquis de Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Rue Saint-Rustique

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Rue de la Jonquière

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

La Garonne et les ponts à Toulouse (Haute-Garonne)

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Square Saint-Pierre à Montmartre

MAURICE UTRILLO (1883-1955)

La rue de la République à Sannois

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Le château de la Clayette (Saône-et-Loire)

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Le Moulin de la Galette à Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Rue Saint-Rustique à Montmartre, sous la neige

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

La rue du Mont-Cenis sous la neige

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Ancien domaine de Gabrielle d'Estrées à Bezons (Val d'Oise)

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Carrefour de la rue des Saules et de la rue Cortot, Montmartre

MAURICE UTRILLO (1883-1955)

Le Lapin Agile à Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Le viaduc (Passage Gare du Nord)

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Rue Philippe-de-Girard à Paris

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Eglise Saint-Pierre et Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Eglise Notre-Dame de Clignancourt

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

La Rue Norvins à Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

L'église Saint-Pierre et le Sacré-Coeur à Montmartre

MAURICE UTRILLO (1883-1955)

Rue Saint-Rustique

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Le Lapin Agile à Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Rue de l'Abreuvoir sous la neige

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

La Rue Saint-Rustique à Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Château de Chillon (Suisse)

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Les toits à Sarcelles

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Impasse trainée

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Boulevard Carnot à Noyon

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Fortifications au nord de Paris

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Rue de Chevalier de la Barre à Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Rue Norvins et Sacré Coeur

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

La ferme Debray

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Rue du Mont-Cenis

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Rue de l'Abreuvoir sous la neige à Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Maquis à Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Abside de l'église Saint-Léger, Soissons (Aisne)

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Moulin de la Galette, Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Place de village

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Le lapin agile à Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

Une rue à Saint-Léger

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955)

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