Paul Pétridès Collection

30 works by Maurice Utrillo

11 October 2010

Maurice Utrillo
Maurice Utrillo
Place des Abbesses, Montmartre (c.1931)
73 x 92cm (2ft 5in x 3ft)
Estimation: €110,000-160,000

Artcurial | Briest - Poulain - F. Tajan are delighted to announce the sale of an exceptional ensemble of 30 paintings by Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955) which formed the personal collection of Paul Pétridès. The auction will take place on 30 November 2010 under the gavel of Francis Briest.

This will be the most important collection of Utrillo works ever to appear at auction.

The ensemble was assembled and lovingly maintained by Paul Pétridès (1901-93), Utrillo’s dealer from 1937, and the author of the catalogue raisonné of his work. It features paintings from all Utrillo’s artistic periods between 1908 and 1950, illustrating all the subjects he treated (including a very rare still life and previously unknown Corsican landscapes, as well as his hallmark street scenes).

Maurice Utrillo: an artist rooted in our collective conscience

The works to be offered in the sale retrace Utrillo’s career, in the wake of the Suzanne Valadon-Maurice Utrillo exhibition held at the Pinacothèque in Paris in 2009.

Although Utrillo was unjustly cold-shouldered by French museums for over 30 years, he remains rooted in collective and popular conscience. He was, in fact, one of the most admired artists of his generation : a pioneer of the School of Paris and an avant-garde visionary who paved the way for a ‘popular’ style of painting that broke with the traditional bourgeois approach.

His highly individual work, based almost exclusively on urban landscapes, enjoys a widespread interna­tional following, notably in the United States and Japan. His works are present in leading American and European museums, and in the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.

Maurice Utrillo
Maurice Utrillo
Impasse Traînée, Montmartre (c.1931)
123 x 172cm (4ft x 5ft 8in)
Estimation: €250,000-350,000

Pétridès – Utrillo: an artistic coup de foudre

Nothing predestined Paul Pétridès to become one of the 20th century’s leading  gallerists and collectors.

He was born into a family of 13 children in Cyprus in 1901, and moved to Paris as a young man to become a tailor. In 1927 he began working for the renowned gentleman’s tailor Mazella, soon earning his confidence and friendship. Mazella loved paintings, and his fitting-room was lined with works by Picasso, Vlaminck, Utrillo and Foujita.

Mazella could see the young Pétridès also loved art, so he introduced him to the Société des Amateurs et Collectionneurs d’Art (Art Collectors Society), where he met numerous collectors, many of them Mazella’s customers. They helped Pétridès broaden his knowledge of the art of the period, and a number of works Utrillo ‘came across’ in the apartments of his new friends grabbed his attention.

For many months he tried to find a particular artist who was known to lead a reclusive existence in Montmartre with his mother and father-in-law, steering well clear of the boisterous Paris of the Années Folles.

Pétridès finally had the opportunity to get to know the Valadon-Utter-Utrillo family thanks to a textile merchant who was a friend of Utter’s. A lunch was arranged, with Utter offering to paint his portrait in return for a new suit. Pétridès accepted, hoping that the posing sessions would give him the chance to meet Utrillo.

It was not until some time later, however, that Pétridès had the chance to meet Utrillo, thanks to Suzanne Valadon, who told Pétridès: ‘I think you’re a nice fellow. Let’s go and meet my son.’

‘My mind was in a whirl’ recalls Pétridès. ‘I was lost for words. Utrillo didn’t seem too interested, but Suzanne, realizing my unease, said :
-  “You’ll make him a suit in exchange for something.”
-  Utrillo laconically added “A blue one”.’


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Sale Info

Sale: 1933
Location: Hôtel Marcel Dassault
Date: 30 November 2010


27 to 29 November, 11am-7pm
30 November, 11am-3pm
Hôtel Marcel Dassault
7 rond-point des Champs-Élysées
75008 Paris


Zurich (Koller)
14, 15 October 2010
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Cologne (Lempertz)
21, 22 October 2010
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Tokyo (Est Ouest Auctions)
28, 29, 30 October 2010
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Bruxelles (Lempertz)
9, 10 November 2010
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