French | 1883-1955
Le château de Chaintré
Signed “Maurice Utrillo” (lower right)
Oil on canvas
Maurice Utrillo is among the most important of the French Post-Impressionists, known for his rich and daring color palette and use of contrast to bring the streets of his hometown of Paris to life. In this remarkable oil on canvas, Utrillo renders the famous Château de Chaintré in the Loire Valley. Utrillo perfectly evokes the tranquility of the countryside estate in this extraordinary piece, which embodies his highly distinctive style.
Utrillo was a man who led a secluded life, and a distinctive isolation can be felt in many of his works. Here, he chooses to depict the château with bucolic charm and gentle majesty, offering the viewer a glimpse of the château not through a visitor’s eyes but his own, brought alive with his vibrant palette and dynamic brushstrokes.
Popularly described as the “painter of Montmartre,” Utrillo is one of the few artists of his time to depict the neighborhood who was actually a native of the bohemian quarter. He was born on Christmas Day to artist and model Suzanne Valadon, a student of Edgar Degas. Utrillo himself received no formal training, instead learning to paint directly from his mother. His first subjects were the scenes from his home, a subject matter he carried with him throughout his career. Between the autumn of 1903 and the winter of 1904, he completed almost 150 paintings of somber, pale landscapes that reflected his fascination with ordered composition and flattened treatment of space reflecting strong emotion.
By 1920, Utrillo had become an international figure and was awarded the French government’s Cross of the Legion of Honor in 1929. He married artist Lucie Valore in 1935 and moved to Le Vesinet, a small village on the outskirts of Paris. Although his life was plagued by alcoholism, he lived to age 72 and was buried in the Cimetière Saint-Vincent in Montmartre. Today, his works are found in numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
Canvas: 18" high x 24" wide
Frame: 27" high x 35" wide
Léonce Rosenberg Collection, Paris
Galerie Motte, Geneva, May 25, 1963
Galerie Motte, Geneva, June 16, 1972, lot 73
Thence by descent, private collection
P. Pétridès, The Complete Work of Maurice Utrillo Volume II, Paul Pétridès, Paris, 1962, no. 882 p.312, illus. p.313