Maurice Utrillo, son of the painter Suzanne valadon , came to art to overcome boredom and give meaning to his existence. In it, the figure of the bohemian and tormented artist comes to life who grew up amid the artistic and intellectual effervescence that flooded the streets of the Parisian neighborhood of Montmartre. Alcoholism and insanity marked his life and his artistic career which, despite being highly valued today, in his day, barely allowed him to earn just enough to live. The work “Sacre Coeur de Montmartre et Square Saint Pierre”, from 1938 that will be auctioned on January 21 in Setdart It illustrates the importance that its streets acquired in the French painter’s artistic production to the point of being considered the Montmartre painter par excellence.
Utrillo belonged to the so-called School of Paris , in which a heterodox group of painters such as March Chagall and Amedeo Modigliani came together during the interwar period. The meeting point between them stems from the categorical refusal to join any avant-garde movement prevailing at the time. Despite this, they did not shy away from certain innovations, and absorbed its most significant features and advances, giving way to the practice of a traditional realism to which they conferred greater freedom in the use of color and shapes.
The composition of this work reveals the great characteristics of Utrillo’s painting: the ingenuity of the drawing, the immediacy of perception and the chromatic refinement . In all of them, the scenarios represented are involved in the tortuous walk of his life through the lonely streets of Montmartre that he traveled so many times, capturing the urban landscape through its filter of loneliness and melancholy. Likewise, the presence of the church is discovered as a symbol of his desire for salvation and mystical elevation that accompanied him in his crises.
Paris, captured in countless works by Maurice Utrillo, forever became the city of this artist. When André Malraux was De Gaulle’s Minister of Culture he made the decision to burn all the false utrillos that was in Paris. The pyre in the Ravignan square in Montmartre reached the rooftops. This is probably one of the most important tributes that has been paid to a painter in the history of art.