Hortense Valpinson (1871) by Edgar Degas

Hortense Valpinson - Edgar Degas - 1871

Artwork Information

TitleHortense Valpinson
ArtistEdgar Degas
Date1871
Mediumoil,canvas
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationMinneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN, US

About Hortense Valpinson

The artwork “Hortense Valpinson” was painted by the artist Edgar Degas in 1871. It is an oil on canvas, imbued with the characteristics of the Impressionist movement, to which Degas contributed significantly. As a genre, this work is classified as a portrait and it currently resides at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States.

In the artwork, a young girl is depicted engaging with an object on a darkly adorned tabletop, her face turned halfway towards the viewer. The subject, whose name is given in the title of the piece, wears a broad white collar over a dark dress, embodying the fashion of the era. A straw hat with a black ribbon adorns her head, establishing a contrast that echoes throughout the composition. Degas has masterfully captured the texture of the white fur on the collar and the sheen of the ribbon, indicative of his attentive observation and skillful representation of materials.

The background of the portrait features a floral-patterned wallpaper, soft and muted, which complements the subject’s attire, while also allowing her figure to stand out. There‚Äôs a discernible harmony in the play of light and shadow that gives the artwork a sense of depth and realism. The young girl’s expression is one of concentration and subtle curiosity, which Degas has rendered with a delicate but assured touch.

Overall, the artist’s use of color and light and the informal pose of the young girl are indicative of the Impressionist movement’s departure from the strict formalism of academic painting, aiming instead to capture moments of everyday life with immediacy and vibrancy.

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