La Maison de Berlioz

Maurice Utrillo
La Maison de Berlioz
huile sur contre-plaqué parqueté
H. 91,5 ; L. 121 cm avec cadre H. 91,8 ; L. 122,2 cm
Adagp, Paris, 2023 / Jean Fabris © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée de l'Orangerie) / Hervé Lewandowski
Maurice Utrillo (1883 - 1955)

The "Berlioz House" is in Paris in Montmartre, on the corner of the Rue Saint-Vincent and the Rue du Mont-Cenis. The composer Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) lived here with his wife from 1834 to 1837, hence its name. The painter Georges Braque (1882-1963) set up his studio there in 1911. Perhaps Utrillo started this work in 1911 or 1912 and reworked it later. The French flag, on the right, was probably added after war was declared in the summer of 1914 and Utrillo probably signed his work at that point.
This very geometric work is one of the painter’s most austere works, reflecting his anguish at this troubled time. The house is reduced to a white shape outlined with black, and the volumes are flattened with large areas of pale colours. The painting is close to the works of "Analytical Cubism" produced at the same time by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Georges Braque (1882-1963) and Juan Gris (1887-1927), whose aim was to achieve a fusion of space and subject. The two facades of the house are depicted simultaneously here, from two different viewpoints. The Berlioz House no longer exists - it was demolished during the First World War and replaced with a block of flats.