I know, I have already talked about the Montmartre Museum several times, e.g. here, when it was under the threat of being closed, and here when it was saved and some first improvements of the installations had taken place. The inauguration of the extended and renovated museum took place recently, so I felt I had to talk about it again.
Here are some views of the outside, compared with a painting by one of the occupants of the buildings, Maurice Utrillo...
… and here some views of the gardens and the view over the vineyard, compared with paintings by Auguste Renoir (The Swing) and Suzanne Valadon….
… and here some other paintings by Renoir from the garden (Monet appears on one of them).
The extended spaces allow a much richer presentation of paintings, drawings and other documents linked to the rich history of the premises and Montmartre in general.
Special attention has been given to the renovation of what was the home and workshop of Suzanne Valadon and her son Maurice Utrillo. Here a view from the outside and from the stairs…
… and here some views from the workshop, compared with photos of Suzanne and, in the middle (one of) her husband(s), André Utter, and to the right her son, Maurice Utrillo…
… and from the living room (see also top picture), compared with paintings by herself. Hardly anything here is really “original”. Photos and paintings have been there to help to make the rooms look as similar as possible to what once was.
Here is the chamber occupied by Maurice Utrillo, portrayed by his mother. The window is closed by steel bars and a net, there to make it impossible for Maurice to “export” paintings and “import” bottles. He was often more or less “imprisoned” to prevent him from being found in the street completely drunk. The postcards on the wall are there to remind us that he often made his paintings from photos and postcards, a way to keep him away from the outside temptations.
Here are two photos of Suzanne and Maurice, a drawing of her son and a painting of the grandmother, the husband and Maurice by Suzanne.
Suzanne had started as an acrobat, but injured she started modelling (and more). We can see her portrayed by Renoir, by Toulouse-Lautrec, by Degas (see the photo taken by Degas as pre-study to one of the paintings), Utrillo, Modiglaini, Puivis de Chavanne and a photo dedicated to her by Picasso.
Suzanne became a very good artist herself as we have already seen. Here are some photos of her and some self-portraits (those days’ “selfies”).
The renovated museum’s ticket office and shop occupies a space which once was the lodge of the housekeeper, for a couple of years occupied by “Père Tanguy”, portrayed by van Gogh (and others). I talked about him in a previous post.
This is where Renoir lived when he made one of his most famous paintings, “Le Moulin de la Galette” – also painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh, Picasso…. I felt I had to tell you something more about one of the two windmills which stood – still there – on what became a very popular cabaret during the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries (I wrote about it several times, e.g. here and here.). The 17th century windmill, “Blute-Fin” was then transformed to a viewing tower with a platform on top – as we can see on the publicity, postcard and paintings by Utrillo and van Gogh. The platform is still there…
… and Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron were dancing on it in the Vincente Minnelli movie “An American in Paris”!