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Maurice Utrillo (French, 1883–1955)
LOT ID: 80645
Paysage d'Alfortville, 1924

Watercolor, on Paper, Mounted on Wooden Board
9.45 х 12.6 in. (24 x 32 cm.)
Signed, "Maurice, Utrillo, V." and dated "Avril 1924," recto; with French customs stamp "Douane Centrale Exportation Paris" verso
Lot description
Artwork measures 9.45 x 12.6 inches (24 x 32 cm). Mounted on wooden board measuring 10 x 13 inches (25.4 x 33 cm). Framed, as shown, with approximate dimensions of 18.45 x 20.6 inches (46.9 x 52.3 cm).

Executed in 1924, "Paysage d'Alfortville" is a brisk, vibrant watercolor by modern painter Maurice Utrillo depicting a local scene in Alfortville, a town in the southwest environs of Paris. The quick facility of Utrillo's brushwork and his characteristic delight in detail are evident everywhere in the tableau: in the caricatured townspeople; the finely colored and stippled facades; the tree branches veined in blue; the loosely impressionistic shadows of the women on the path; and the local gendarme's blue and red uniform, in visual rhyme with his interlocutor's darker outfit and with the French tricolor flag in the middle distance. A smokestack in the background indicates the industrialization of even the most peaceful Parisian banlieues, making "Paysage d'Alfortville" a lively postwar variation on a central theme of the French Impressionist painters.

Maurice Utrillo (1883–1955) was a French artist. His mother, Suzanne Valadon (French, 1865–1938), was an artist's model, and Utrillo grew up with her in the famous Montmartre quarter of the city, which is known for its artistic and bohemian community. Valadon modeled for French artists, such as Berthe Morisot (1841–1895), Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901), and was inspired by them to begin to create art herself. She taught herself to paint, was mentored by Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917), and soon became known for her artistic ability. Utrillo's youth was troubled by alcoholism, truancy, and mental illness, but he was urged by his mother to explore art as a way to deal with his struggles. With her guidance, Utrillo began to paint, and soon exhibited a real artistic talent. His paintings began to win him acclaim, and by 1920, his city scenes and landscapes were known around the world. Some of his most famous works depict the city of Paris, with a special focus on Montmartre. Perhaps most famous are his depictions of the Lapin Agile, a cabaret in his neighborhood that was frequented by the artists and writers of the time. Utrillo died in Montmartre in 1955, and since his death several retrospectives of his work have taken place in Montmartre and in major museums throughout the world. His work is represented in the collections of the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; and the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France, among other institutions.
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Paysage d'Alfortville by Maurice Utrillo
  • Paysage d'Alfortville by Maurice Utrillo
  • Paysage d'Alfortville by Maurice Utrillo
  • Paysage d'Alfortville by Maurice Utrillo
  • Paysage d'Alfortville by Maurice Utrillo
  • Paysage d'Alfortville by Maurice Utrillo
  • Paysage d'Alfortville by Maurice Utrillo
  • Paysage d'Alfortville by Maurice Utrillo
  • Paysage d'Alfortville by Maurice Utrillo
  • Paysage d'Alfortville by Maurice Utrillo
  • Paysage d'Alfortville by Maurice Utrillo
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    Montmartre
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    (H 6.9, W 3.9) in.
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