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Exhibition at Galerie Alexis Pentcheff looks at Maurice Utrillo's legacy
Maurice Utrillo, Ruelle des Gobelins à Paris, 1921, oil on canvas, signed and dated lower right Maurice, Utrillo, V, Mars 1921, signed, dated and titled on the reverse Maurice Utrillo, V, Mars 1921, 65 x 92 cm.


MARSEILLE.- Galerie Alexis Pentcheff celebrates Maurice Utrillo’s prominent position within the School of Paris and announces his first retrospective in Marseille, from 22nd September to 04th November 2017.

Since 2009, Galerie Alexis Pentcheff has been highly involved in Marseille’s cultural scene, showcasing the finest of Impressionist and Modern Art. Today, the gallery is honored to invite you to its forthcoming exhibition, "UTRILLO, URBAN SOLITUDE". From 22nd September to 04th November, the gallery will display an extremely rare collection of thirty-nine original works that will highlight Utrillo’s greatest achievements and influence on the 20th century art scene.

All of the works come from private collections and will be available to buy. This new show will look at Utrillo’s legacy through the prism of a contemporary and novel interpretation, bringing into focus his idiosyncratic vision of Montmartre’s landscapes.

Son of the sulfurous Suzanne Valadon, Maurice Utrillo was born on the day after Christmas in 1883. Throughout his life, Utrillo will remain a highly troubled man for whom painting will become an enlightening necessity. While painting will alleviate his darkest thoughts, he will reveal an extraordinary and genuine talent.

Alike his mother who was a painter and a model, Utrillo is an autodidact. He will find inspiration in the greatest figures’ artistry, scrutinizing their representations of his mother. The artist will therefore develop a highly personal style from his attentive observations and knowledge, suggesting a sincere and authentic approach of painting, while setting aside any ostentation.

Through this retrospective, Galerie Alexis Pentcheff pays tribute to a major artist gifted with an incredible sensitivity and provides new perspectives on his atypical work. While Maurice Utrillo has often been mentioned to embody the cursed artist myth, he is most importantly the perfect incarnation of the School of Paris (École de Paris).

Maurice Utrillo was born in 1883. From a very young age, the painter is troubled and tends to drown his darkest thoughts in alcohol. He visits frequently cabarets and brothels, which will become later his first exhibition spaces.

Further to his mother’s – Suzanne Valadon – and André Utter’s – painter and friend – advice, Maurice Utrillo acquires rapidly a thorough knowledge of painting and composition. From that moment, he will never stop painting, finding his biggest outlet in the practice.

In the 1910s and after a period during which Utrillo was highly influenced by its impressionist peers, the painter quickly develops his own style and becomes one of the greatest figures of School of Paris (École de Paris). Maurice Utrillo prefers a refined and sober representation of the Parisian streets, neglecting the surrealist and abstractionist movements that surround him. Hence, he will devotedly and endlessly depict the streets in Montmartre, in which the artist grew up.

Maurice Utrillo draws his inspiration in lively places, cafes, and restaurants. However, his work remains surprisingly deserted and these places uninhabited. His cold tones palette reflects winter lights and atmosphere; vegetation is scarce in Utrillo’s urban landscapes.

Between 1912 and 1914, the painter’s mental health has not improved. He stays at the Doctor Revertégat’s clinic in Sannois. Far from Montmartre’s restlessness, he can fully devote himself to the practice of his art and produces one of his most well known bodies of work the “white periode” (période blanche). In those works, one may distinct astonishing white tone variations sometimes obtained by adding plaster and applying color with a knife. In the “white period”, Utrillo finds a novel serenity through the exploration of light and what he calls truth.

In 1922, the infamous dealer Paul Guillaume (1891-1924) exhibits thirty-five of Utrillo’s works. This event is a significant turning point in the artist’s career and places him as a prominent figure of Modern Art. This drastic success influences his “colorful period” (période colorée) during which he focuses on the form that he draws from vivid and spontaneous brushstrokes, using bright colors. His work is subsequently exhibited at Berthe Weil and Bernheim Jeune.

Pictorial contrasts in Maurice Utrillo’s work reflect the artist’s unstable mental health and reveal constant, yet painful transitions between calmness and agony. Utrillo is 71 when he dies in Dax the 05th November 1955. -





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