The Pinacothèque de Paris
is putting on an important exhibition of works by Suzanne Valadon and Maurice Utrillo. This exhibition will take place between March 6th and September 15th, 2009, and will show about fifty works by each of these artists.
Suzanne Valadon and Maurice Utrillos story is that of the turn of the century in Montmartre. This mother and son couple, untypical and bohemian, was at the heart of a whole artistic world that was mid-way between two periods, between two worlds. It illustrates how Impressionism, a bourgeois and comfortably settled movement came to beget, by means of one its most beautiful muses Suzanne Valadon , the School of Paris alongside one its most symbolic artists: Maurice Utrillo.
It is also the story of the painful passage from a time of artists born into the middle classes to a new group of artists born into much more working class families. These new artists were sometimes heavily handicapped psychologically, and found their conditions as artists difficult to live with, a situation not encountered since Van Gogh.
A case in point was Maurice Utrillo who went from the purely painterly, impressionistic, tradition (the Montmagny period) to the outburst of color (white period) points up the difficulty for these artists to adapt themselves to a world in the throes of an industrial mutation, like the district in which they chose to settle: Montmartre, an area in constant rebuilding during Utrillos time.
A strong-willed woman, Suzanne Valadon found her niche in the almost exclusively male artistic world. An occasional model but a federating figure in the art world at the end of the 19th century, she posed among others for Puvis de Chavannes, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec. Degas having strongly urged her to carry out her artistic destiny, she swiftly confirmed her talent as a powerful and innovative artist. Having become a mother at the age of eighteen, she transmitted her passion to her son.
Always linked to the Parisian bohemian scene on account of his eccentric lifestyle, Utrillo was, thanks to his outstanding periods Montmagny and the White period (1910-1914) immediately regarded as one of the symbols of the School of Paris, the equal of Modigliani or Soutine.
It was during those two great periods that the Pinacothèque de Paris has chosen to put on exclusively that Utrillo was to express the quintessence of his art in a few years. He showed great virtuosity in his approach to Paris and its districts with a totally new manner, with his topographical approach, simultaneously continuing the works by the Douanier Rousseau, the Impressionists and the Fauves, in which he combined his vision of the city, outbursts of color and naive art.
The specific exchange that took place between this mother and her son is translated through their common love of painting as well as in their mutual admiration.
And so we find in the Pinacothèque de Paris a selection of the best paintings by these artists, shown together in the form of a dialogue, no matter how intimate, recreating the Parisian flavor of the period.
An exhibition on this scale has never before been seen in Paris.