Fine oil on canvas painting of a quiet street and buildings on a gray day in winter, possibly Montmartre, signed at lower right by the highly regarded French School of Montmartre painter ALPHONSE-LEON QUIZET (1885-1955). Quizet though not a household name today, was a significant figure in the group of artists painting the bohemian, and in some parts, country-like Montmartre neighborhood on the outskirts of Paris in the first half of the century. Quizet was born in Paris and was headed for a career in architecture until he discovered his painting talents. He became a familiar figure in the artist colony district, becoming in 1903 a friend and ultimately teacher of Maurice Utrillo, the works of whom bring enormous sums today. The two would paint together and shared a very similar style sometimes bordering on the naive. Quizet also counted among his friends the painters Marcel Leprin and Louis Valtat. Some have called Quizet's work sentimental, others call it poetic. The artist skirted the Cubism and other modern movements, sticking to his distinctive style while capturing not only Montmartre but other familiar sights and neighborhoods of Paris. During his lifetime Quizet exhibited in many salons. A prolific painter, I see almost 1,000 auction records. In the late 1980's and early 1990's when this school of painting was bringing very high prices, works by Quizet routinely brought into the five figures, one actually achieving $72,000. The market for his work has since cooled considerably but Quizet's appealing works continue to find buyers at auctions in Europe and America. This painting, 13" by 21 1/2" on the stretchers, 23" by 31" in its very high quality hand-made frame by Los Angeles frame maker Richard Tobey, has recently been repaired and cleaned by a professional restorer. Several tears that were present in the sky and at lower right center are now barely visible, after a quality BEVA reline and skilled inpainting. The painting and frame (which also received some attention from the restorer, there having been a few small losses) are just beautiful together, the scene very easy to live with. Note the several figures (two at far left, one at right) that add a human touch to this strangely lonely street.
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