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Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale

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London

Maurice Utrillo
1883 - 1955
L'HÔTEL DU TERTRE À MONTMARTRE
signed Maurice Utrillo.V. (lower left)
oil on panel
55.5 by 73.5cm., 21 7/8  by 29in.
Painted circa 1910.
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Provenance

Galerie Barbazanges, Paris
Alex Reid & Lefevre, London
The 9th Earl of Jersey, Jersey (acquired from the above)
Thence by descent to the present owners

Exhibited

Paris, Galerie Barbazanges, Maurice Utrillo, œuvres peintes de 1910 à 1914, 1925, no. 60
London, Alex Reid & Lefevre, Utrillo, The White Period 1910-1915, 1935, no. 9, illustrated in the catalogue
St. Helier, La Société Jersiaise, Centenary Art Exhibition, 1973, no. 9

Literature

Art News, New York, 24th October 1913, illustrated
Adolphe Basler, Maurice Utrillo, Paris, 1931, illustrated p. 21
Pierre Mortier & Roland Dorgeles, Le Monde Illustré, numéro spécial, 10th July 1937, illustrated n.p.
Marius Mermillon, Collection des Maîtres: Utrillo, Paris, 1948, illustrated pl. 28
Paul Pétridès, L'Œuvre complet de Maurice Utrillo, Paris, 1959, vol. I, no. 179, illustrated p. 228

Catalogue Note

Painted circa 1910, L’Hôtel du Tertre is a superlative example from Utrillo’s celebrated 'White Period' (circa 1909-1912). Working at the height of his artistic powers, it was during these years that Utrillo’s realistic views of Montmartre first won him the recognition of his contemporaries and public approbation from critics, dealers and collectors. The ‘White Period’ or ‘Periode Blanche’ is so-called for the preponderance of white stucco which dominated the edifices of Montmartre and thus Utrillo’s canvases, yet as Adolphe Tabarant notes, ‘At this time Utrillo uses a palette of many whites, but these never become chalky or dull. He surrounds them with soft greys, delicate pinks, deep blues, or else contrasts them with sonorous browns and blacks’ (Adolphe Tabarant, Utrillo, Paris, 1926). L’Hôtel du Tertre illustrates precisely this approach; and Utrillo achieves a masterful tonal composition, delicately balancing orange and red against complimentary blues and green, framed by a striking diagonal swatch of signature white.


The present work also reveals Utrillo’s unique ability to simultaneously act as a fastidious documentarian of architectural detail and a profound confessor for the soul of Montmartre. While maintaining unmistakable stylisation, the artist sought to escape the traditional limitations of painting and deliver the sensual qualities of the city through his canvases. ‘Dissatisfied with the effects obtainable with zinc white, he tries combining it with plaster, in an effort to reproduce the whites of his beloved walls. In a frenzy of realism, he would like to go so far as to put real moss on the old stones which he strives so hard to reproduce’(Adolphe Tabarant, Utrillo, Paris, 1926). The White Period paintings are veritable portals to Utrillo’s world and Place du Tertre, the setting for the present work, is only a few blocks from both Sacré Cœur and the Lapin Agile, at the heart of Montmartre. The spirit and anxiety of the now legendary community is palpable in L’Hôtel du Tertre, an elegiac testament to the life of a denizen artist. As Carlo Santini writes, ‘Utrillo is a poet: the lonely, isolated poet of a reality that is sometimes trivial in the extreme, sometimes majestic and sumptuous. Utrillo has no need of any special figurative setting: walls, grilles, hoardings, trees, lamp-posts, cobblestones, rows of houses, cathedral towers, pavements, fences, factory chimneys, and great dark windows all take their place in his work with their own peculiar expressiveness. These and many other objects are imbued with feeling, sometimes with drama; they suggest the passage of time, the waning of life, the desperate melancholy of certain times and seasons’ (Carlo Santini, Modern Landscape Painting, London, 1972, p. 53).

Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale

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London