Seated Nude Combing Her Hair (c.1887 – c.1890) by Edgar Degas

Seated Nude Combing Her Hair - Edgar Degas - c.1887 - c.1890

Artwork Information

TitleSeated Nude Combing Her Hair
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1887 - c.1890
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Seated Nude Combing Her Hair

“Seated Nude Combing Her Hair” is a notable work by the esteemed artist Edgar Degas, created approximately between the years 1887 and 1890. Executed in pen and ink, this artwork is a testament to Degas’s involvement with the Impressionist movement, although he preferred to be known as a realist. The genre of this piece is nude painting (nu), which was a common subject in the artist’s oeuvre. This particular artwork is housed in a private collection, and it exemplifies the innovative techniques and sensibilities characteristic of the period.

The artwork presents a woman captured in an intimate and unguarded moment, her posture and actions free from any external audience but the viewer. She is depicted seated, her back turned towards the observer, as she combs her long hair that cascades down her back. The composition emphasizes the natural curvature of her spine and the twisting motion of her arms, creating a sense of both movement and tranquility. The use of pen and ink allows for strong contrasts between light and shadow, while the loose, expressive lines and muted color palette convey the impressionistic quality of the scene. Degas’s choice of this spontaneous, seemingly mundane activity challenges traditional presentations of the nude in art, focusing more on the authenticity of the moment than idealized beauty.

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