Artistic Inspiration: Jean Béraud, Parisian Street Scene, ca. 1985

This painting shows a view of a Parisian street corner on a gray, winter day. A typical Parisian scene, as Beraud’s straightforward paintings most commonly were, this painting evokes bustling activity in the background and an exchange of gazes in the foreground. A stylish woman dressed in black peruses a poster-covered kiosk, its orange tones contrasting to the otherwise silvery tones of the painting. To her right, another man who momentarily appears to be doing the same actually gazes in her direction. He is joined by another man who peers from behind the kiosk to admire the woman’s fashionable beauty. This woman is the only female shown in the painting, as men fill the background with movement and conversation.  Beraud’s representation of this street scene is so precise that its location in Paris can be identified as a view of the boulevard des Italiens from the corner of rue Laffitte.  (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection)

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