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Place du Tertre, Montmartre

Maurice Utrillo, French, 1883 - 1955

Geography:
Made in France, Europe

Date:
c. 1912

Medium:
Oil on cardboard on panel

Dimensions:
19 1/2 x 28 1/2inches (49.5 x 72.4cm) Framed: 28 × 36 3/4 × 4 1/2 inches (71.1 × 93.3 × 11.4 cm)

Copyright:
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1967-30-83

Credit Line:
The Samuel S. White 3rd and Vera White Collection, 1967

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Additional information:
  • PublicationMasterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art

    "Ah, Montmartre, with its provincial corners and its bohemian ways, how many stories could be written on this section of Paris! . . . I would be so at ease near you, sitting in my room, composing a motif of whitewashed houses."1 Maurice Utrillo's words reflect his life-long attachment to Montmartre, where he grew up, and which he painted many times throughout his career. Attracted by the ordinary buildings of the city, his chief source of inspiration, he created orderly compositions in which the flattened treatment of space suggests the artificiality of a theater set. In this stark depiction of the Place du Tertre, the central square of Montmartre, the street is lined with bare buildings set against a gray sky, with only a few stray figures discernible. The somber nature of this winter scene is accentuated by the subdued colors and the flat geometric rendering of the buildings. Utrillo, son of the artist Suzanne Valadon, first exhibited in 1913 at the Salon des Indépendents, but he did not become truly successful until after World War I; by 1924 he was very popular in Paris. Shortly before his death he was awarded one of France's highest distinctions, the Légion d'honneur. Emily Hage, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 168.

    Note:
    1) Maurice Utillo, as translated in Alfred Werner, Maurice Utrillo (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1981), p. 80.

Provenance

M. Fabiani (probably the Paris dealer Martin Fabiani), by 1950; sold to Alex Reid & Lefèvre (dealer), London, March 6, 1950 [1]; sold to Samuel S. White, 3rd (1876-1952), Ardmore, PA, April 10, 1951; bequest of Vera White (Mrs. Samuel S. White, 3rd) to PMA, 1967. 1. A March 2002 letter from Lorna Carberry of Reid & Lefèvre (in curatorial file) states that the painting was purchased by them from Mr. M. Fabiani on this date, and sold to Samuel S. White in 1951; and confirms that the painting was included in the exhibition "French 20th Century Masters" at Reid & Lefèvre in November 1949. The dealer Martin Fabiani was a friend and protégé of Ambroise Vollard, with whom he worked for years and who named him an executor of his estate, a large part of which Fabiani acquired after Vollard's death in 1939. Utrillo may have known Fabiani personally: he painted a view of Fabiani's Paris store-front in 1943, "La Galerie Martin Fabiani à Paris" (Pétridès no. 2182, "coll. Martin Fabiani, Paris"). According to Fabiani's autobiography, he became friends with Utrillo's dealer Paul Pétridès in 1939 (see Quand j'étais marchand de tableaux, Paris, 1976, p. 172). Fabiani's name appears on Nazi-era provenance red flag lists because of some of his wartime dealings.