In 1909, Utrillo’s health began to deteriorate, preventing him at times from painting outside. At that time he was either in a sanatorium or being supervised by one of his family in the studio or a hotel room. His mother, the artist Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938), and her second husband, brought him postcards so that he could find new subjects and continue working. It is highly likely that this canvas was inspired by a card of the village of Maixe, near Lunéville in Lorraine in the east of France.
This work is more colourful and more animated than others painted by Utrillo between 1910 and 1920, and now in the Musée de l’Orangerie. The white walls of the houses contrast with their red roofs. The edges of the track are green, matching the garden gate. The grey and brown bell tower of the church stands out of the left, above a group of men and women in conversation. Two women stand face to face, their movement captured as if in a photograph. One couple has left the group and moved away to the right. The figures are a mixture of women in long skirts, men in their blue working jackets and soldiers in red and blue uniforms. As for the flag, Utrillo placed the French tricolore in the centre of the painting to attract the viewer’s eye.
Provenance : Paul Guillaume ; Domenica Walter