The Toilette (c.1884 – c.1886) by Edgar Degas

The Toilette - Edgar Degas - c.1884 - c.1886

Artwork Information

TitleThe Toilette
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1884 - c.1886
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About The Toilette

The artwork titled “The Toilette” was created by the renowned artist Edgar Degas between circa 1884 and 1886. This piece is rendered in pastel and is a quintessential example of the Impressionist movement, to which Degas contributed significantly. As a genre, it belongs to nude painting (nu) and showcases the artist’s delicate yet expressive handling of the medium. Presently, this artwork is held in a private collection, indicating that it is not on public display.

“The Toilette” by Degas captures an intimate moment of personal grooming. The central figure is a nude woman seen from behind, bent forward over a basin, seemingly immersed in her ablutions. The pastel medium allows for a soft diffusion of light and color across the composition, imbuing the scene with a sense of immediacy and tactile sensuality. There is an interesting juxtaposition of the figure’s gentle, warm skin tones with the cooler, abstractly rendered backgrounds of drapery and interior elements, characteristic of Degas’ ability to blend realism with elements of atmospheric abstraction.

In the background, one can discern the faded presence of other figures, perhaps reflected in a mirror, adding a layer of depth and intrigue. The brushwork is both bold and nuanced, adept at conveying the texture of the skin, the porcelain basin, and the various materials surrounding the woman. This play between the sharply detailed and the ethereally vague is evidence of the artist’s masterful command of light and shadow, defining the work as a celebration of the sensory experience of sight and touch through the medium of pastel.

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