In the autumn of 1899 the artist rented a studio and apartment at 65 rue de Douai, near Place Clichy and Place Pigalle, with a view towards Montmartre. Charles Terrasse later recalled Bonnard’s studio: "There were canvases. Easels all around, and in an angle a small table where one would have lunch. The balcony was a place that was particularly attractive. From there one could see so many things. A whole world. The street below was bustling… agitated like a sea" (Charles Terrasse, quoted in Pierre Bonnard: Early and Late (exhibition catalogue), The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., 2003, p. 33).
Bonnard shared his fascination with the city with a number of Impressionist and post-Impressionist artists, and in choosing this subject matter he drew on the tradition of depicting the busy streets and cafés of the French capital. Gustave Caillebotte, Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro all executed a number of works depicting Parisian boulevards, squares and bridges, usually characterized by a sense of rich and varied life of the city. Gustave Geffroy commented: "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).
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