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Woman Getting Out of the Bath, c. 1877

Edgar Degas

French, 1834-1917
Pastel over monotype on paper
6-1/4 x 8-1/2 in. (15.9 x 21.6 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1978.26.P
© 2012 Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

The theme of bathing women, a constant in Degas’s oeuvre, is almost always identified with the world of the prostitute. This enchanting monotype, however, provides clues to the contrary. The woman leaving the bath, for example, is assisted by a maid. Although the woman is unclothed, her position facing away from the viewer suggests a modesty that is absent from Degas’s unambiguous brothel scenes. The crammed but carefully arranged interior is appointed with furnishings indicative of an inhabitant of a higher social class, and the light coming from the window indicates daytime rather than the shadows of night.

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