Maurice Utrillo
(Paris, 1883-1955, Dax, Landes)
Porte Saint-Martin, Paris, ca. 1910
Oil on cardboard, 60 x 73 cm
Signed lower left: Maurice Utrillo V

Did Utrillo, as in the gardens of the Butte Pinson, set up his easel on the Boulevard Saint-Martin in order to paint the Porte Saint-Martin from the side? Utrillo’s sphere was Montmartre with its alleys and little squares or the nondescript suburbs of Paris, and not so much the great boulevards which Pissarro, Monet and Renoir had painted. It is better to assume that here he worked from a postcard. The accessories, which are unusual for Utrillo, also support this assumption. Mention could be made here, too, of another view of the Porte Saint-Martin from the other side of the Boulevard Saint-Denis, which closely resembles this picture in its accessories and is dated around 1908. Utrillo’s typical figures with their vase-shaped outlines, usually seen from the back, which appear for the first time in paintings of 1910, have nothing to do with the horse-cabs, carriages and passers-by here. This painting, still generally dark, is closer to the early work than to the "white period", which is usually said to begin in 1907.