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Paul Delvaux

La Rue du tramway [Street of the Trams]

  • La Rue du tramway [Street of the Trams]
    © Paul Delvaux Foundation - St. Idesbald. DACS, London 2023

About this artwork

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.

Updated before 2020

Paul Delvaux (1897 - 1994) Belgian
La Rue du tramway [Street of the Trams]
1938 - 1939
Oil on canvas
90.30 x 131.30 cm; Framed: 109.30 x 150.00 x 9.00 cm; 37.00 kg
Object type:
Credit line:
Bequeathed by Gabrielle Keiller 1995
Accession number:
GMA 3962
On Loan
Surrealism Nudity
Artwork photographed by:
Antonia Reeve

True colours

Paul Delvaux

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but what is Surrealism?