Maurice Utrillo

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Utrillo, Maurice

(o͞otrē`lō, Fr. mōrēs` ütrēlō`), 1883–1955, French painter. He was the son of the painter Suzanne ValadonValadon, Suzanne
, 1867–1938, French painter. After abandoning successful careers as an acrobat and as artist's model to many of the major impressionists, Valadon, encouraged by Toulouse-Lautrec and Degas, became a painter.
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 and was adopted by the writer Miguel Utrillo. His mother taught him to paint in order to divert him from the alcoholism that ravaged him from a very early age. Utrillo's favorite themes were the street scenes of Paris, particularly of Montmartre, and Montmagny. Within an almost hallucinatory vision, he developed a personal style based on a modified cubismcubism,
art movement, primarily in painting, originating in Paris c.1907. Cubist Theory

Cubism began as an intellectual revolt against the artistic expression of previous eras.
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 and a fine sense of atmosphere and composition. In his later years he lost much of his original power. An extremely prolific painter, Utrillo is well represented in American and European collections.


See biographies by W. George (1960) and P. de Polnay (rev. ed. 1969).

Utrillo, Maurice


Born Dec. 25, 1883, in Paris; died Nov. 5, 1955, in Dax, Landes. French landscape painter.

Utrillo grew up in an artistic milieu. He studied under his mother, the artist S. Valadon, and was influenced by C. Pissarro. Among the recurrent themes in his works are the narrow abandoned streets of Montmartre, with their blank walls, closed shutters, and sparse greenery. Utrillo worked most creatively from 1908 into the second decade of the 20th century. His works of these years, his “white period,” are rigidly and somewhat naively balanced and executed with precise draftsmanship. His brush-work is highly textured, and his subtle palette is cold and transparent, occasionally softened by warm tones. Atmospheric effects in his paintings are fresh and crisp.

Utrillo’s early works are permeated with a contemplative melancholy that evokes the bitterness and tragedy of human alienation. Notable examples include Street in Montmartre (c. 1910, Tate Gallery, London), Moulin de la Galette (1915, private collection, Paris), and Basilique Sacré Coeur (1916, private collection, New York).

In the 1920’s, Utrillo’s palette became brighter and the mood of his landscapes more cheerful, for example, Rue Saint-Rustique (1922, private collection, Milan).


Utrillo: Parizh. [Album. Compiled and with a text by M. N. Prokofieva.] Moscow, 1969.
Pétridès, P. L’Oeuvre complète de Maurice Utrillo, vols. 1–2,4–5. Paris, 1959–74.
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