Seated Woman Adjusting Her Hair (c.1890) by Edgar Degas

Seated Woman Adjusting Her Hair - Edgar Degas - c.1890

Artwork Information

TitleSeated Woman Adjusting Her Hair
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationCourtauld Gallery, London, UK

About Seated Woman Adjusting Her Hair

“Seated Woman Adjusting Her Hair” is a pastel artwork by Edgar Degas, created around the year 1890. It is positioned within the genre of sketch and study and is associated with the Impressionism art movement. This particular piece is housed at the Courtauld Gallery in London, United Kingdom. The artwork showcases Degas’s masterful use of the pastel medium and his continued exploration of the human figure, a central theme throughout his oeuvre.

The artwork captures an intimate moment with a sense of immediacy and spontaneity, characteristic of the Impressionist movement’s interest in the fleeting aspects of modern life. It depicts a woman in a state of undress, seated while reaching up to adjust her hair. The pose is an informal one, full of movement and life. Degas’s use of pastel allows for both vibrant and subtle colour shifts, highlighting the contours of her back and the tactile quality of her skin and clothing. The background is rendered with minimal detail, focusing the viewer’s attention on the figure and her action.

Degas’s technique exhibits a masterful blend of drawing and painting, with bold strokes and softer shades coalescing to form the woman’s figure and the folds of the fabrics. The artwork’s sketch-like quality suggests that it may have been part of a series of studies, a common practice for Degas, who often revisited certain subjects and postures to refine his observations and style. This work, like many of Degas’s studies, celebrates not only the beauty of the human form but also the artist’s fascination with everyday gestures and the grace found within them.

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