The Montmartre museum is located at the top of the Parisian hill within a group of buildings that includes the Demarne mansion, the Bel Air house and the studio-apartment of French painters Suzanne Valadon, Maurice Utrillo and André Utter.
The gardens surrounding this haven of peace are inspired by certain paintings by Auguste Renoir who also lived at 12 Cortot street – they are called “Jardins Renoir” and are made up of fruit trees and hydrangeas.
The place hosted many artists, such as Raoul Dufy or Paul Reverdy, but the one who left a stronger mark is Suzanne Valadon.
In 1912, Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) moves with her son Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955) to the studio-apartment located Cortot street. Shortly after, her new companion and friend of his son, André Utter joins them. They all three live in the studio-apartment until Suzanne Valadon and André Utter break up in 1926. They are nicknamed the “infernal trio” or the “cursed trinity” because of Utrillo’s erratic behavior and the violent disputes between the three artists. Suzanne Valadon paints everything around her: many of her paintings take this little living room as a setting.
Maurice Utrillo has suffered all his life from alcoholism. He goes through very dark and tormented periods and has to be interned several times. The window of his room is barred to prevent him from throwing objects at passers-by. However, his many paintings of the streets of Montmartre, bright and colorful, make him the eternal lover of hill.
Montmartre by Maurice Utrillo
Suzanne Valadon – Le jardin de la rue Cortot – 1928
Suzanne Valadon’s studio adjoins the small apartment and, like any self-respecting Parisian artist’s studio, benefits from Northern light. The studio is a reconstruction, based on the paintings and writings of Suzanne Valadon.
Valadon and her son move to Avenue Junot in 1926 and Utter remains in the studio-apartment until his death in 1948. André Utter is from Montmartre. The many paintings by each of these three artists showing views from the studio, the garden, and Cortot street bear witness to these years spent together.
Bel Air house
The Montmartre vines can be admired from the North terrace.
The windmills (“moulins”) are part of the identity Montmartre and the Moulin Rouge is the most famous of them.
Among thirty windmills located in the surroundings close to Montmatre, about fifteen are located on the top of the hill. In the middle of the 19th century, the windmills disappear due to industrial development and urban expansion. Only the Moulin Radet and the Blute-Fin will be preserved: they are joined together and refurbished with a bar and a ball in 1870, and become the well-known Moulin de la Galette.
Paul Legrand – Le Blute-Fin
Alfred Renaudin – La Butte Montmartre et l’emplacement de l’avenue Junot
Alfred Renaudin – Paris en 1899
In 1860, Montmartre is annexed to Paris. The district therefore undergoes major developments that considerably change its appearance, such as the opening of Avenue Junot from 1909 to 1912.
Alfred Renaudin – L’Avenue Junot
The construction of the Sacré-Coeur basilica is launched according to a 1873 law. Six years of work are needed to consolidate the ground weakened by the old gypsum quarries of the hill. The first stone of the basilica is laid on June 16, 1875. In 1900, the dome is barely completed. The church is not consecrated until 1919 and is not completed until 1923.
Alphonse Quizet – Le Sacré-Coeur
Max Jacob – Château des Brouillards
Montmartre is renowned for its cabarets, such as the Moulin Rouge, the Lapin Agile and the Chat Noir. Le Chat Noir is an avant-garde artistic and musical cabaret. Erik Satie and Claude Debussy play and compose there. Artists meet and bond there. The evenings are often unpredictable, mixing songs and Chinese shadow shows.
Georges Redon – La Japonaise au lapin
Maurice Neumont – Le Théâtre du Chat Noir
Adolphe-Léon Willette – Parce Domine, Parce Populo Tuo
Adolphe-Léon Willette – La Femme au chat
Fernand Andrey-Prévost – La Place Blanche
The museum is absolutely charming and allows one to better understand the free spirit that still runs today on the famous Montmartre hill.
March 10, 2023