The stairway has been a persistant theme throughout Kertész's career from his early days in Budapest to his later years in New York. He was increasingly aware of the fleeting images a shadow could cast, and like his Hungarian friend Moholy-Nagy, he was fascinated with the deep space and various patterns that could appear at any given moment. The intricate design with the delicate lines, solid ironwork and the corn-like cobblestone are testament to his extraordinary ability to juxtapose given elements to form a whole.
Kertész's attraction to this vantage brought him back to the same spot approximately one week after this image was made to make the more widely published, cropped rendition replacing the cart with a woman and clochard at the base of the stairs. Whereas this version is reminiscent of his lyrical style, the later picture is more abstract in nature. Kertész's fondness of this first scene of the Stairs of Montmartre is evident in the gift he made of it to his brother Jenö (Of Paris and New York, p. 261).