Maurice Utrillo was a French painter (1883-1955) who was born in Montmartre and is most famous for the paintings he actually created featuring scenes from Montmartre. Utrillo was an illegitimate child whose mother was the artist Suzanne Valadon. His real father is unknown, but a Spanish artist, Miguel Utrillo y Molins, claimed parentage of him in 1891.
Utrillo was a teenage ne’er-do-well and was an alcoholic by the time he was 19 years old. Diagnosed mentally ill at 21, his mother decided he needed some sort of therapeutic diversion and taught him how to paint. He never had any formal training as he enjoyed sketching and painting around Montmartre. By the 1920s, Utrillo was famous in France and abroad.
–the artist’s mother, Suzanne Veladon
Sadly, Utrillo was in and out of mental asylums for years. When he was in his 50s, however, he became very religious. He also got married to Lucie Valore. He was so sick that from then on he painted indoors creating mostly postcards of scenes he remembered or he painted scenes from his window. Even though he was “plagued by alcoholism” most of his life, he lived to be in his 70s.
—Paris, Montmartre, Rue du Mont-Cenis, l’ancienne Maison de Berlioz, Maurice Utrillo,1923,
gouache, 21.1 x 35.6 cm (8.3 x 14 in), Galerie Rienzo, New York, USA
I happened to have picked up an Utrillo copy from a friend who was going to sell it in a garage sale. I really like this painting and it fits my bedroom decor. Here it is:
I looked on eBay and a similar print was going for a whopping U.S.$40.
Utrillo became of member of the Légion d’honneur in 1928.