Woman Combing Her Hair (1888 – 1890) by Edgar Degas

Woman Combing Her Hair - Edgar Degas - 1888 - 1890

Artwork Information

TitleWoman Combing Her Hair
ArtistEdgar Degas
Date1888 - 1890
Art MovementImpressionism

About Woman Combing Her Hair

The artwork “Woman Combing Her Hair” is an exquisite piece by the renowned artist Edgar Degas, dating from the period between 1888 and 1890. This pastel artwork is a notable example of the Impressionism movement, specifically categorized within the nude painting (nu) genre. It captures a moment of intimate daily life with the subtle interplay of light and color that hallmarks Impressionism.

In the artwork, a woman is depicted in the act of combing her hair, an everyday activity that is elevated to a subject of fine art through Degas’s masterful handling of pastel. The figure is presented in a candid pose, her back to the viewer, and her body slightly twisted to allow her arms to reach the hair. The woman’s form is rendered with soft yet vibrant strokes of color, emphasizing the play of light on her skin.

A rich variety of colors contributes to the overall impression of warmth and luminosity. The background offers a harmonious blend of greens and blues, providing a striking contrast to the figure’s warm skin tones. The artist has skillfully used the medium of pastel to create a texture that seems both soft and dynamic, inviting the viewer to engage with the sensuousness of the subject matter as well as the materiality of the medium itself.

The composition evokes an intimate and unguarded moment, harkening to Degas’s interest in capturing the human figure in moments of private reverie. The artwork demonstrates a meticulous attention to the nuanced effects of light and color, characteristics that are emblematic of the Impressionist movement.

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