Laundress Carrying Linen (1876 – 1878) by Edgar Degas

Laundress Carrying Linen - Edgar Degas - 1876 - 1878

Artwork Information

TitleLaundress Carrying Linen
ArtistEdgar Degas
Date1876 - 1878
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Laundress Carrying Linen

The artwork entitled “Laundress Carrying Linen” is an oil on canvas painting by the renowned artist Edgar Degas, created between 1876 and 1878. This piece is a representation of the Impressionist movement, depicting a genre scene. It falls within the category of genre painting, capturing everyday life activities with a particular focus on laundresses at work. The painting is presently held in a private collection, signifying that it is not on public display.

The artwork depicts two women engaged in the labor of handling linen, emblematic of the scenes from day-to-day life that Degas was known to portray. The composition emphasizes the physicality of their work, with one of the women bearing the weight of the linen on her back, her posture bent under its mass. The handling of light and color, along with the loose and expressive brushwork, is indicative of the Impressionist style, aiming to render the fleeting moments and movements of real life. The colors are relatively muted, with browns, beiges, and whites dominating the scene, giving a sense of the mundane reality of work.

The women’s faces are rendered with attention to their expressions, which reflect focus and perhaps the toil of their occupation. There’s a dynamic contrast between the textured depiction of the linen and the solid, dark clothing of the laundresses. The background remains indistinct, allowing viewers to concentrate on the figures and the weight of their task. Degas’ interest in capturing movement and the human figure is evident, as the positioning of the bodies suggests a moment frozen in time, a characteristic approach of Degas’ broader oeuvre.

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