- Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
- Begun c.1875-1876; reworked c.1882-1886
- Oil on canvas
- 32-1/4 x 29-3/4 in. (81.9 x 75.5 cm)
- Credit Line:
- Norton Simon Art Foundation
- Accession Number:
- © Norton Simon Art Foundation
Once a private, domestic chore, laundry was big business in nineteenth-century Paris, where it employed roughly twenty-five percent of the female workforce. Steamy, dark storefronts, often open to the sidewalk, gave passersby a glimpse of women ironing, bare-armed in the heat. Born into an aristocratic family, Degas was fascinated by working women and by the increasingly porous distinctions between private and public, domestic and commercial in the modern city. His paintings of laundresses—none finer than the present example—reflect this fascination. Probably begun in the 1870s and reworked about a decade later, this picture suggests the brutalizing effects of hard labor. The women hunch, yawn, and drink over a pile of starched shirts, yet the peculiar delicacy of Degas’s touch—mimicking, in the flesh tones, his own work in pastels—reminds us of the laundresses’ youth and femininity.
The artist, sold 18 October 1902, as Les deux blanchisseuses, 1882, for Fr. 15,000 to;
[Durand-Ruel, Paris, stock no. 7184, sold 18 November 1902, for Ff 20,000, to];
Oscar Schmitz (1861-1933), Dresden, and Switzerland (1931-1933);
Schmitz heirs (Edouard Schmitz), still in 1935;
[Wildenstein Galleries, Paris, London and New York by 1936];
?Edith Dunn (Mrs. Alfred Chester) Beatty (d. 1952), by 1953 inheritance to;
Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968), London and Dublin, consigned 30 December 1958 to;
[Arthur Tooth & Sons, London; sold 7 April 1959 to];
Lucille Ellis, Norton and Robert Ellis Simon, in 1969 after Robert Simon's death to;
Norton Simon and The Norton Simon Foundation, 1971 to;
Norton Simon gave his half interest to NSAF;
Norton Simon Art Foundation and Norton Simon Foundation;
Norton Simon Foundation sold its 1/2 interest to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.
Image reproduction permission may be granted for scholarly or arts related commercial use. All image requests, regardless of their intended purpose, should be submitted via email. Requests can also be made by fax or mail.
Images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. Additional permission may be required.
Approved requests for the reproduction of an image will receive a contract detailing all fees and conditions of use of the image. Upon receipt of both the signed contract and full payment, the Office of Rights and Reproductions will provide the image. A complimentary copy of the published material must be provided to the Norton Simon Museum.
|Telephone:||(626) 449-6840 x 3300|