Edgar Degas’ painting “Woman Combing Her Hair” depicts the artist’s repeated theme of women grooming themselves in their boudoirs. Completed in c. 1886, the composition features a young woman with long, flowing hair being combed by someone out of view, likely her maid. The nearly meter-and-a-half wide painting is the second of two variants of a composition that Degas created about 1885.
Despite his known misogynistic views, Degas attempted to represent the female form in its most absolute state. In this particular painting, he emphasizes the length and color of the woman’s hair and dominates it with light colors. While it appears to be in excellent condition overall, it presents risks of instability due to its age.
Degas was known for his impeccable attention to detail and this painting is no exception. It highlights not only how women would sit awkwardly while combing their hair but also showcases their beauty during private moments unobserved by outsiders. Overall, “Woman Combing Her Hair” serves as a stunning example of Degas’ obsession with capturing intimate moments between women on canvas through careful observation and technique.