I am currently reading a great deal about Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955).
Utrillo was a self taught painter born in the Montmartre quarter of Paris. His mother was the artist Suzanne Valadon. She studied with Degas and Renoir and is said that she was never quite sure who was the father of Maurice. She finally attributed the paternity to a lesser known Spanish artist Miguel Utrillo though he probably wasn’t the father either.
Maurice was a troubled soul his entire life and had a strong predilection for drink. In later life he became very religious and married an older woman after his mother died and he himself was 52. His mother took care of him for many years and after her death he sought a mother figure again in his older wife Lucy Valore.
Utrillo’s paintings are many and mostly street scenes of Montmartre. After 1910, his work which had previously been derided as “primitive” attracted critical attention. In 1928 the French government awarded him the Cross of the Legion d’honneur.
Until the end of his life however, he was interned in mental asylums repeatedly.
These days his paintings are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
C’est la vie.