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

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

Artwork Information

TitleSeated Woman Combing Her Hair
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1887 - c.1890
Art MovementImpressionism,Japonism
Current LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris, France

About Seated Woman Combing Her Hair

The artwork “Seated Woman Combing Her Hair” was crafted by the celebrated artist Edgar Degas, estimated between the years 1887 and 1890. Utilizing the medium of pastel, Degas imbues the piece with the distinct characteristics of the Impressionism and Japonism art movements. As a genre painting, it encapsulates a moment of ordinary life, rendered with a finesse that Degas is renowned for. Presently, the artwork holds a place of honor in the Musée d’Orsay, located in Paris, France.

In the artwork, the viewer is presented with an intimate scene featuring a woman attending to her personal grooming. She is seated, slightly turned away from the beholder, her posture relaxed yet focused on the task at hand. The woman’s hair cascades down her back, rich in texture and color, capturing the light that reveals the meticulous strokes of pastel. Her arms are purposefully positioned, one hand holding a portion of her hair while the other hand seems to be working a comb through the tresses.

Degas’ adept handling of pastel creates a harmony of vibrant and muted tones, adding depth and a tactile quality to the composition. The influence of Japonism is subtly present in the organic lines and the flat areas of color, suggesting an inspiration drawn from Japanese prints. The impressionistic sensibilities are evident in the soft focus and the fleeting, candid quality of the moment depicted, as well as the visible spontaneity in the artist’s technique. This piece exemplifies Degas’ skillful exploration of light, movement, and everyday grace within the confines of a seemingly mundane activity.

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