September 16, 2010

Utrillo : the brush and the bottle

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955) grew up in the school of life, that of the Butte Montmartre in Paris. Disturbed and already alcoholic teenager, Utrillo was raised by his grandmother. Uncontrollable, he regularly stayed in a psychiatric clinic. His mother, Suzanne Valadon, earns his living as a model for Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec or Degas. She managed to make a career and become an artist herself. She introduced her son the art of painting and found a way to curb, at least, his misconduct.
Francis Carco described the legendary figure of bad boy that Utrillo was :
"What mattered that he was a great painter! He knew it. He did not need anyone to tell him so. And after? Paying for a drink? Good. That was all he claimed. Enough of stories, ok? Enough clap-trap. Money is better and quickly! To rush to the pub, get drunk and argue. [...] He dearly loved the alcohol! In back streets [of Utrillo compositions], I always find a stubborn expectation, a hope, the perpetually and eager suffering to retain the image of his torture. This feeling dominates everything. It makes a silent drama and the sky appears as through vials of a counter where you do not want a drunken man."
(source : National Library of Netherlands)

Currently, the librairie Loliée offers :
  • Utrillo (Maurice) - Carco (Francis). La Légende et la Vie d’Utrillo. Lithographies originales de Maurice Utrillo. Paris, Marcel Seheur, 1927, in-4, in leaves, covers, 2 folders in one case. 10 original and full-page lithographs and a frontispiece in colors by Maurice Utrillo, a portrait of the artist (orginal lithograph) by Suzanne Valadon. Triple suite of the lithographs on Japan and China paper.