La Mere Larcheveque is an 1880 painting by the French Impressionist artist Camille Pissarro, also known as Washerwoman Study. It is an important work in the artist’s oeuvre, showcasing his shift towards figure painting in the 1880s. The subject of the portrait has been identified as a near-neighbour of the Pissarro family.
The painting depicts a washerwoman bending over a tub, her hands submerged in soapy water. Behind her, a tall building rises up against the sky. The colors used are muted earth tones and greys, with subtle hints of blue and green throughout. The brushwork is loose but precise, capturing both the texture of the woman’s skirt and the shimmering quality of reflected light on water.
La Mere Larcheveque is now in the public domain and can be viewed at art museums around the world. It is considered one of Pissarro’s most significant works from this period due to its thematic subject matter depicting working-class people and its focus on social commentary through art. The piece provides insight into life during this era and serves as an excellent example for how artists can use their art form to address human concerns beyond creating alluring images that may hold deeper meaning for viewers seeking it out.