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Church at Clignancourt

Église de Clignancourt

Here Utrillo has painted Notre-Dame de Clignancourt, built in Montmartre from 1859 to 1863. Montmartre remained an independent commune for many years, and only became part of the City of Paris in 1860, along with several other villages on the outskirts of the capital. Utrillo had a strong sentimental attachment to this church. In fact, one day he confided: "I was born in Paris on 25 December 1883, on Christmas night, at 3, Rue du Poteau, next to the church of Notre-Dame de Clignancourt. This is not a very beautiful church and not very old, and there it is all on its own; but I like it all the same and I have painted it for my mother who looks after it."
We can therefore assume that Utrillo did this for his mother Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938), who was also a painter.
It was produced in the studio. The lines were drawn out with a ruler and some are visible on the walls of the church. The perspective here is very accomplished. The church, with its very pale walls, takes up most of a surface characterised by very steady lines. A few silhouetted figures give it a little life. It is an autumn scene as there is a grey sky lowering above the church and a tree with leaves that are already turning red.

Provenance: Paul Guillaume; Domenica Walter