The Street in Winter
Pierre Bonnard ( French, 1867 - 1947 )
In a tightly staged vignette of a Parisian street, young and old alike hurry along the pavement, their shoulders hunched in heavy coats against the winter air. In the foreground, two bourgeois men, whose class is signaled by their top hats, seem to be in a conversation (or perhaps a negotiation) with a young woman. Although Pierre Bonnard shows us only a partial glimpse of this woman, he suggests by her brightly made-up face and forthright stare that she might be a prostitute plying her trade on the cold winter street.
Although the Nabi artists are known for their intense exploration of domestic environments and interiors, they were also fascinated by the heterogeneous public spaces of Paris. In the early 1890s, Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Maurice Denis shared a studio in Montmartre near Pigalle Boulevard, and it may well have been in that bustling area that Bonnard observed the varied cast of types he gathers here.
Heather MacDonald, DMA Label copy, 2014.