One thing few scholars know about the ‘June 7, 1909 incident’ is that Maurice Utrillo was present at Le-Bateau-Lavoir that night. And although he was not one of the abducted artists, he witnessed the successive rise and descent of his friends through the roof. Such experience gave him a powerful mystical feeling. As he confessed to his friend Marie Vizier, he couldn’t get the biblical image of the angels ascending and descending Jacob’s ladder out of his head. Immediately after the incident, Utrillo stopped drinking and began to frequent churches. He also began to see his artist friends as angels descended from Heaven, and Albert Gleizes says that, whenever Utrillo came across one of them, he genuflected. That bothered the atheist Picasso who, to counter Utrillo’s genuflection, decided that in return he would kiss his feet. The alleys of Montmartre still preserve the puzzled memory of the chance encounters of these two art geniuses. Utrillo was always the first to display worship and humility by kneeling before his friend, but Picasso reacted immediately by throwing himself at his feet and kissing them fervently. Utrillo tried to resist those kisses, which seemed to him a kind of sacrilege, but Picasso imposed his physical strength. The result is that Utrillo always wore shiny shoes, brighter than if he had gone through the services of a shoeshine boy.

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