Woman Having Her Hair Combed (c.1892 – c.1895) by Edgar Degas

Woman Having Her Hair Combed - Edgar Degas - c.1892 - c.1895

Artwork Information

TitleWoman Having Her Hair Combed
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1892 - c.1895
Mediumpastel
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection
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About Woman Having Her Hair Combed

The artwork titled “Woman Having Her Hair Combed” is a pastel creation by the renowned artist Edgar Degas, dating from circa 1892 to 1895. This piece is a prime example of the Impressionist movement, embodying the style’s characteristic focus on light, color, and everyday subject matter. Notably, it falls under the genre painting category, depicting an ordinary scene from daily life. Currently, this artwork is part of a private collection, highlighting the historical pattern of such works often being held in personal rather than public assemblages.

In “Woman Having Her Hair Combed,” Degas captures a moment of intimacy and routine between two figures. The scene depicts a seated woman in a loose blue dress, reclined in a casual pose with her head tipped back, while another woman, standing and dressed in modest attire, attentively combs through the seated woman’s red hair. The composition is marked by a vivid interplay of colors, with warm hues dominating the background, and cooler tones in the foreground contributing to a sense of depth and contrast. The quick, sketch-like strokes lend a sense of immediacy to the scene, a hallmark of Degas’ ability to capture fleeting moments with both dynamism and delicacy.

The setting includes a table covered in a blue cloth, upon which rests an assortment of grooming items—a brush, a comb, and what appears to be a small glass bottle, possibly containing oil or perfume. The backdrop is less defined, offering a glimpse of a mirror on the wall, which adds to the environment without detracting focus from the primary subjects. Degas’ skilled use of pastel has enabled a texture and softness that emphasize the tactile and transient nature of the scene, a moment suspended in time through the artist’s masterful touch.

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