Dans la rue, la femme à l’ombrelle depicts a busy crossing in Paris. The artist has included numerous figures and animals all captured with a remarkable sense of movement, reflecting Bonnard's fascination with the energy and dynamic life of the metropolis. The lady in red, crossing the street, assumes the focal point of the composition and inadvertently draws the viewers’ eye; the red of her blouse being the most lucent accent amongst the otherwise muted palette. Gustave Geffroy commented on Bonnard’s work: 'no-one is quicker than Bonnard to seize the look of our Parisian streets, the silhouettes of a passer-by and the patch of colour which stands out in the Metropolitan mist. [He] seizes on all the momentary phenomena of the street, even the most fugitive glances are caught and set down' (Gustave Geffroy, quoted in Pierre Bonnard (exhibition catalogue), Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1996, p. 16). Returning to this subject throughout his career, Bonnard's city scenes reflect a certain joie de vivre achieved through the sparing use of bright tones and a strong sense of energy and movement. The present work positions the viewer at street level and with this seemingly nonchalant perspective suggests a chance momentary glimpse, rather than a carefully staged ensemble, thereby, further adding to the sense of the fleeting urban life.
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