Saturday, July 28, 2007


"Deux blanchisseuses portant du linge" by Edgar Degas (1834-1917). Almost blind for his last twenty years, Degas worked mostly in pastel with increasingly broad, free handling. He loved to paint simple people's lives insisting on the dureness of their condition.

Five of Degas's pictures of laundresses including this one were shown at the Second Impressionist Exhibition in 1876.
In his novel the Dram Shop, French writer Emile Zola described laundresses at work, detailing the physically demanding labor involved in the act of pressing the iron. Similarly Degas emphasized the effort involved in carrying a heavy load of linen by showing the limping of the two women.

In addition to his artistic endeavors, Degas amassed a vast collection of art and considered to establish his own private museum. The museum was never realized and Degas passed away in 1917. The next year a big Degas sale was auctioned off by Christie's in London and this picture fetched 2300 Guineas (1 Gn=1 Pound and 1 Shilling).

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