Lot 173
  • 173

Maurice Utrillo

250,000 - 350,000 USD
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  • Maurice Utrillo
  • La Cathédrale de Chartres (Eure-et-Loir)
  • Signed Maurice Utrillo.V. (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 36 1/2 by 25 7/8 in.
  • 92.7 by 65.7 cm


Galerie Vizzavona
Mrs. Lloyd B. Wescott, New York
Wildenstein & Co., New York
Acquired from the above on January 31, 1956


Paris, Barbazanges Galerie, Exposition d'oeuvres anciennes de Maurice Utrillo, 1925, no. 58, illustrated in the catalogue
New York, Museum of Modern Art, Art in our time : an exhibition to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Museum of Modern Art and the opening of its new building held at the time of the New York World's Fair, 1939, no. 104, illustrated in the catalogue
San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor & San Francisco, M. H. de Young Memorial Museums, Seven Centuries of Painting, 1939-40, no. Y-217
Buffalo, Albright Art Gallery; Cincinnati, Cincinnati Art Museum & St. Louis, St. Louis Art Museum, French paintings of the twentieth century, 1900-1939, 1944-45, no. 741, illustrated in the catalogue
Newark, Newark Museum, Owned in New Jersey, 1946, no. 65
New York, Wildenstein & Co., Utrillo, A Loan Exhibition for the Benefit of Hadassah Medical Relief Association, Inc., 1957, no. 21, illustrated in the catalogue
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Collects, 1968, no. 225
New York, Museum of Modern Art & Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Modern Masters, Manet to Matisse, 1975, no. 108, illustrated in the catalogue


Walter Bondy, "Maurice Utrillo," in Kunst und Künstler, vol. XXIII, April 1925, illustrated p. 258
Adolphe Tabarant, Utrillo, Paris, 1926, illustrated p. 58
Adolphe Basler, Maurice Utrillo, V, Paris, 1931, illustrated in color as the frontispiece
Shigeo Miyata, Utrillo, Tokyo, 1936, illustrated pl. 12
Michel Georges-Michel, Chefs d'oeuvre de peintres contemporains, New York, 1945, illustrated n.p.
Pierre Courthion, Utrillo, Bern, 1947, illustrated pl. 46
Alfred Werner, Maurice Utrillo, New York, 1953, illustrated in color pl. 19
"Utrillo's Charmed Simplicity: The Work of his Early Years, On Display at the Wildenstein Galleries," in Arts, February 1957, illustrated p. 20
Paul Pétridès, L'Oeuvre complet de Maurice Utrillo, vol. I, Paris, 1974, no. 201, illustrated p. 253
Alfred Werner, Maurice Utrillo, New York, 1981, illustrated in color pl. 30
Jean Fabris & Cédric Paillier, L’Oeuvre complet de Maurice Utrillo, vol. I, Paris, 2009, no. 232, illustrated in color p. 296 (with incorrect medium)


This painting has been lined, in the middle of the 20th century, using glue as an adhesive. The painting is probably clean and could be hung in its current condition. Under ultraviolet light one can see numerous fairly broad areas of retouching in the sky and it is certainly fair to assume some of these areas may be exaggerated. In the architecture it is less clear, under ultraviolet light, whether there is any restoration. The only other retouch is along the bottom edge in the ground in front of the cathedral. The above condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Although chiefly known for his views of Paris, Utrillo made numerous trips to the outskirts of the city and further afield. In the present work Utrillo captures a vivid portrait of the cathedral’s celebrated façade and famously unmatched towers. With its heavily impastoed surface, Utrillo’s painting succeeds admirably in conveying the atmosphere of a French cathedral town, the square sparsely populated and the pop of red roofs just visible on either side of the monolithic structure. Although Utrillo’s development as an artist in these early years reveals little or no awareness of the activities of his avant-garde contemporaries, his work very quickly attracted the attention of sophisticated writers and collectors. Writer turned art dealer Louis Libaude signed an exclusive contract with Utrillo in 1910 and others including Francis Jourdin, Octave Mirbeau and Paul Gallimard soon began to collect his work.

Libaude organized the first exhibition of Utrillo paintings, which was held at the Galerie Eugène Blot in 1913. Writing under his pen name, Louis Lormel, Libaude wrote in his introduction to the catalogue: “Maurice Utrillo is the painter of Montmartre. Since Lépine, I believe no artist has been able to render with such acute sensitivity the sad 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 front takes on in his paintings an extraordinary intensity of color and life… He is also a painter of the suburbs… He loves the morose steeples of old churches, the deserted streets of the gloomy suburbs… Maurice Utrillo evokes, above all, for every sensitive Parisian the nostalgia of his native city, its sickly sky, its resigned houses” (quoted in Maurice Utrillo (exhibition catalogue), Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, 1963, n.p.).