Artist biography

Maurice Utrillo 1883-1955

French painter. Born in Paris, son of the painter Suzanne Valadon. His father is said to have been either Boissy, a painter and alcoholic, or Puvis de Chavannes. A Spaniard Miguel Utrillo, in order to help him, legally recognised him as his son in 1891. Began to drink heavily while still a boy. Was encouraged to paint as a distraction by his mother, who gave him his first instruction. Early paintings influenced by Pissarro and Sisley. Painted mainly the streets of Montmartre and churches, working frequently from picture postcards. Predominance of pale tones (his so-called 'white period') c.1910-16, afterwards started to use brighter colours and freer brushwork. The dealer Libaude organised his first one-man exhibition at the Galerie Blot in Paris in 1913 but it had no success; recognition followed an exhibition (with Suzanne Valadon) at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in 1923. In 1935 married Lucie Pauwels (Valore) and moved with her in 1937 to Le Vésinet on the outskirts of Paris. In his last years, watched over by his wife, he divided his time between painting and religious devotions. Died at Dax in the Pyrenees.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.733