La Toilette (c. 1891) by Mary Cassatt

La Toilette - Mary Cassatt - c.1898

Artwork Information

TitleLa Toilette
ArtistMary Cassatt
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions39 1/2 x 26 in.
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationThe Art Institute of Chicago

About La Toilette

The artwork titled “La Toilette” is a creation by Mary Cassatt, an emblematic artist of the Impressionism movement, dating approximately from the year 1898. Rendered in oil on canvas, this piece stretches 39 1/2 by 26 inches and falls within the genre of Nude Painting. “La Toilette” is presently housed at The Art Institute of Chicago, remaining accessible for public viewing and appreciation.

The artwork portrays a nude female figure in an intimate setting, engaged in her personal grooming ritual. She is captured in a moment of bodily care, gently attending to her foot. With a deft use of light and shadow, Cassatt imparts a sense of warmth and palpable texture to the woman’s skin, highlighting the curves and contour of her form. The subject is seated on a plush, red-draped piece of furniture, which contrasts with her pale skin tone, adding both depth and dimension to the composition.

The surrounding elements are softly defined, maintaining the focus on the figure. Around her, one can discern objects that suggest a domestic environment, such as a chair and what might be perceived as a basin, hinting at the daily routine of personal maintenance. Cassatt’s brushwork exhibits the characteristic looseness and vibrancy of the Impressionist style, imbuing the scene with a sense of immediacy and the fleeting nature of the moment.

Overall, “La Toilette” stands as a testament to Cassatt’s dedication to portraying the lives and private realms of women with dignity and sensitivity. The piece speaks to her ability to capture everyday moments with grace, granting viewers a window into the unguarded, tranquil scenes of domestic life at the close of the 19th century.

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