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The Cover
October 4, 2006

The Little Laundress

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2006;296(13):1564. doi:10.1001/jama.296.13.1564

She is there, every morning it seems, as predictably as sunrise, as ubiquitous as its light, more noticed when she fails to appear than when she does. Plain as the cobblestones on which she walks, no one pays her any attention; she could be the lamppost beside the door of the building she passes. Not even a passing dog is interested. A tiny, prematurely bent childish silhouette, she trundles a cart of fresh laundry through the back streets of Montmartre, which, except for the clattering of the cart on the cobblestones, are silent now, exhausted from the night's revelries. But Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), who habitually walked the streets of early-morning Paris, saw her and today it is we who see her. She is The Little Laundress (cover), one of the lithographs Bonnard did in the mid-1890s showing various aspects of humble Parisian life: schoolbound children, gendarmes, horse-drawn cabs waiting for a fare.