La Rue du tramway [Street of the Trams]
© Foundation P Delvaux - St Idesbald, Belgium/DACS, London 2004

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La Rue du tramway [Street of the Trams] 1938 - 1939
This painting is typical of Delvaux's style, featuring enigmatic nude figures in a strange setting, lit by an eerie, unreal light. Delvaux had trained in Belgium as an architect, and the backgrounds of his paintings frequently feature classical architecture or buildings from Brussels. Trams are a recurring motif in his paintings: a classic sexual metaphor, according to the psychologist Sigmund Freud. Delvaux probably used the tram and the expressionless women displaying themselves in windows and doorways, to suggest sexual tension. Male figures appear much less frequently in his paintings.

Glossary Open


A general term for art and architecture based on ancient Greek and Roman culture.


A distinctive element in a work of art or design.

Classicism, Motif


  • Acc. No. GMA 3962
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 90.30 x 131.30 cm (framed: 109.30 x 150.00 x 9.00 cm)
  • Credit Bequeathed by Gabrielle Keiller 1995