The Laundress
c. 1873
Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
On View

“Yesterday I spent the whole day in the studio of a strange painter called Degas,” wrote the critic Edmond de Goncourt in February 1874. “[H]e has fallen in love with modern life, and out of all the subjects in modern life he has chosen washerwomen and ballet dancers. When you come to think of it, it’s not a bad choice. It’s a world of pink and white, of female flesh in lawn and gauze… He showed me… washerwomen and still more washerwomen… speaking their language and explaining the technicalities of the different movements in pressing and ironing.” This unusually intimate study of a young girl ironing a sheet was probably among the pictures Degas showed Goncourt. He may have shown it in the first Impressionist group exhibition two months later.


  • Artist Name: Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
  • Title: The Laundress
  • Date: c. 1873
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 9-13/16 x 7-9/16 in. (24.9 x 19.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1979.05.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

Georges de Bellio, Paris, purchased possibly in 1876 - until 1894, to;
Dr. E. and Mrs. Victorine Donop de Monchy (nee de Bellio), 1894-until at least 1897.
M. and Mme Jacques Doucet, Neuilly sur Seine, by 1924, still in 1938;
[Hector Brâme, Paris, possibly in partnership with];
[Cesar de Hauke, Paris and New York, in partnership with];
[Jacques Seligmann, New York, by 1939, sold by 1945].
Walter Bareiss, New York, sold 8 January 1953 to;
[Paul Rosenberg & Co., New York, stock no. 5476, sold February 1953 to];
Mr. and Mrs. John Barry Ryan, New York, still in 1977;
[William Beadleston, Inc., New York, offered 8 December 1978 and subsequently sold 17 January 1979 to];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

French Art of the Nineteenth Century: Paintings, Prints, Drawings

  • Fogg Art Museum, 1942-07 to 1942-08
  • Russoli, Franco; and Fiorella Minervino, L'opera completa di Degas,no. 367 p. 103
  • Campbell, Sara et al., Degas in the Norton Simon Museum,2009, Fig. 5 p. 95
  • Lipton, Eunice, Looking into Degas: Uneasy Images of Women and Modern Life,pl. 85 pp. 137-139
  • Dumont, Henri, Degas, p. 16
  • Carmen Fernández Jacob, La Patalogía Ocular en la Pintura a Través de la Clínica Oftalmológica,2017, Fig. 13 p. 109
  • Kendall, Richard, Degas by Himself, p. 162
  • Keller, Horst, Edgar Degas, p. 106
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 1573 p. 422
  • Brettell, Richard R., Impressionism on the Seine: A Celebration of Renoir's "Luncheon of the Boating Party", p. 95
  • Georges-Michel, M., Les Grandes Epoques de la Peinture "Moderne" de Delacroix a nos Jours, opp. p. 97
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 148
  • Dunlop, Ian, Degas,pl. 97 p. 109
  • Bullard, E. John, Arts Quarterly, p. 14
  • Lipton, Eunice, Art History,fig. 42 pp. 295-313
  • Lemoisne, Paul-André, Degas et son oeuvre,no. 329 p. 169
  • Paragone,fig. 51
  • Blake, N; C. Harrison and Di Norman, Impressionism and Degas,pl.II p. 61

Additional Artwork by Artist

Actress in Her Dressing Room Edgar Degas c. 1875-1880 and c. 1895-1905
After the Bath Edgar Degas c. 1890-1893 (dated in error by another hand: 1885)
Autograph Letter to Durand-Ruel Edgar Degas n.d.

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