I would rather be there than anywhere
– Maurice Utrillo
At eighteen, Catherine came into money from her maternal grandfather. The sum, while not large, was enough to allow a measure of freedom and independent thought. If she married, she would come into a much larger fortune from her paternal grandfather. At eighteen, she judged the strings attached to this latter sum too confining, too bound up in the old century. She was part of the new, and such an integral part, she believed, that she was destined to be one of its greatest luminaries. Which was why, a week after her eighteenth birthday, Catherine took her little income and ran away to Montmartre.
She studied painting, colour, light – in the beginning at least, until the greater urgencies of the coffee houses, the streets, dawn over the Seines, and the art of living began to draw her away from the harder aspects of art. The art world’s harsh, even pedantic, tendencies had taken Catherine by surprise. Oh, yes the first surge of a new notion was marvellous, of course. Lovely and sensational. New eyes, new ways, new responses, but then, what a bother, how dreary it all quickly became. And then, then, after it was all solid and thought through, you still had to build, create, make manifest the dear old thing. All a bit too much like lessons and chores. The essentials of art were, Catherine began to feel, so awfully ordinary, while she was, in nearly all ways ...
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