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De Karloswka’s art was based on her native Polish tradition and on her training at the Académie Julien in Paris. She came to Britain in 1897 after marrying an English artist, Robert Bevan, and joined the circle of people who were trying to modernise British art. In this painting de Karlowska takes the kind of subject that progressive British artists were exploring, and invests it with a poetical quality associated with French intimiste artists such as Edouard Vuillard. Enigmatic figures bustle out of the shadows into the welcoming light, giving everyday city life an air of mystery.

February 2016