Louis Marie de Schryver's oeuvre offers a glimpse of the elegant life of the privileged class in fin-de-siècle Paris. His paintings capture the grand boulevards, bustling with flower vendors, fashionably dressed women and stylish horse-drawn carriages that characterized the City of Light in the Belle Époque.
In Rue Royale, Paris, de Schryver depicts one of the city's most famous streets. A popular destination for the wealthy in turn-of-the-century Paris as well as today, Rue Royal is known for its luxury shops and restaurants. De Schryver playfully calls attention to the street's fashionable character by placing a shop sign with the word 'Modes' in the upper left of the painting. Below, two women, one clad in an elaborate turquoise hat and dress and the other in a similarly ornate purple ensemble, affirm the meaning of the sign. Just a few steps ahead, a wet nurse, wearing the traditional red bonnet of her profession, appears in an intricate rose-colored cloak, holding a baby in an equally extravagant white gown. The pink of the wet nurse's attire echoes in the exuberant flowers spilling over the vendor's cart while the purple hues of the single burst of lilacs are picked up in the violet dress of the woman at the center of the composition. This lavender lady signals to her chic friend in the horse drawn carriage, adding another narrative note to the already engaging image.
Amidst these stylish, hurried Parisians, a single dog pauses at the lower edge of the canvas peering out at the viewer as if to invite us into the lively scene. We are led further into the composition by the rows of buildings that form plunging perspectival lines that terminate in the hazy grayish-blue outline of the Luxor Obelisk and the dome of L'Hôtel National des Invalides. With these recognizable monuments in the distance, de Schryver reminds us of Paris' rich cultural past in the midst of his image of buzzing contemporary life.