Fighting against the wind as they cross the Seine, people scurry with umbrellas, gentlemen hold on to their hats, and a woman descends the steps as her scarf takes flight, which, unbeknownst to her, catches the eye of the bearded man strolling behind. The woman in black captures the essence of voir et être vu, the desire to both see and be seen in late-nineteenth century Paris. As Gloria Groom explains, "[Jean Béraud] specialized in modestly scaled scenes of fashionable people experiencing the boulevards and radiating intersections of Paris as if on a stage, aware that they are being watched" (Gloria Groom, "Spaces of Modernity," Fashion, Impressionism and Modernity, exh. cat., Musée d’Orsay, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Art Institute of Chicago, 2012-2013, p. 165).
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