The Laundry Woman (1879) by Camille Pissarro

The Laundry Woman - Camille Pissarro - 1879

Artwork Information

TitleThe Laundry Woman
ArtistCamille Pissarro
Dimensions55.6 x 46.5 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About The Laundry Woman

“The Laundry Woman” is an artwork by Camille Pissarro, created in 1879. This oil on canvas piece measures 55.6 x 46.5 cm and is held within a private collection. As an exemplar of the Impressionist movement, the artwork presents the genre of portraiture through its depiction of a daily activity.

The artwork captures a quiet moment in the daily life of a woman engaged in the task of washing clothes. The figure is bent over a wooden tub, her hands submerged in the water as she washes the cloth. She is dressed in a blue garment with a white piece of clothing that seems to cover her torso, and a blue cap rests atop her head, suggesting a scene from everyday life rather than a formal portrait. To her left stands a wooden chair, draped with a red-and-white striped cloth, providing a contrast in color and form to the roundedness of the tub. Beside the tub is a small bucket, likely containing either rinse water or additional washing supplies.

The background is muted with dappled sunlight filtering through the leaves of trees, creating a play of light and shadow across the scene. The walls behind her exhibit the textural brushwork typical of Impressionist paintings. The choice of colors, the softness of the forms, and the emphasis on natural light and shadow all serve to situate this figure within a specific moment, immortalizing the simplicity and earnestness of her labor. The painting resonates with Pissarro’s interest in rural and working-class subjects, an affinity shared by many Impressionists as they sought to capture the transient effects of light and the essence of modern life.

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