Laundresses were famously the subject of Honoré Daumier, who was given a large exhibition in Paris in 1901. They were also painted by Edgar Degas, although very few of his works were displayed publicly in Paris at the turn of the century. Daumier's lithographs were passed around the studios of Barcelona, as were the few illustrated books on Degas's work.
Picasso's laundress is much more abject than those of either of his French antecedents; the bleak mood of the painting recalls that found in the work of the Catalan painter Isidre Nonell. Picasso gave this painting to his friend Jaime Sabartés, a poet. Alfred Stieglitz, the New York photographer and art dealer, bought it in 1912.
Inscription: Signed and inscribed (etched into surface in dark blue paint, upper right): a jacobus / sabartes / - Picasso -
Jaime Sabartés, Barcelona (1901–12; gift of the artist; sold in 1912 to Stieglitz); Alfred Stieglitz, New York (1912–d. 1946; his estate, 1946–49; gift to MMA)
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "History of an American, Alfred Stieglitz: '291' and After, Selections from the Stieglitz Collection," July 1–November 1, 1944, no. 89.
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Alfred Stieglitz Exhibition: His Collection," June 10–August 31, 1947, no catalogue (checklist no. 89).
Art Institute of Chicago. "Alfred Stieglitz: His Photographs and His Collection," February 2–29, 1948, extended to March 7, 1948, no catalogue (checklist no. 11).
Nashville. Fisk University. "36th Annual Festival of Music and Art," April 28–May 2, 1965 (extended to June 10, 1965), unnumbered cat.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Yves Saint Laurent," December 14, 1983–September 2, 1984, unnum. checklist (installed in galleries of Costume Institute exhibition).
Kunstmuseum Bern. "Der Junge Picasso: Frühwerk und Blaue Periode," December 6, 1984–February 17, 1985, no. 142.
Charleroi. Palais des Beaux-Arts. "Picasso, Miró, Dalí: Évocations d'Espagne," September 24–December 22, 1985, no. 19.
Yokohama Museum of Art. "Treasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: French Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century," March 25–June 4, 1989, no. 161.
Paris. Musée Picasso. "Picasso 1901–1909: Chefs d'oeuvre du Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," October 21, 1998–January 25, 1999, unnumbered cat. (fig. 30).
Portland, Me. Portland Museum of Art. "Picasso's Human Vision," May 29–September 6, 1999, no catalogue (checklist no. 1).
Cleveland Museum of Art. "Barcelona and Modernity: Picasso, Gaudí, Miró, Dalí," October 15, 2006–January 7, 2007, no. 4:13.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Barcelona and Modernity: Picasso, Gaudí, Miró, Dalí," March 6–June 3, 2007, no. 4:13.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Picasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 27–August 1, 2010, no. 18.
Florence. Palazzo Strozzi. "Picasso, Miró, Dalí. Angry Young Men: The Birth of Modernity," March 12–July 17, 2011, no. 4.6.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Stieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keeffe," October 13, 2011–January 2, 2012, no. 22.
Jaime Sabartés. Picasso: Retratos y recuerdos. Madrid, 1953, pp. 113, 250–51, pl. 13.
Frank Elgar and Robert Maillard. Picasso: Étude de l'oeuvre. Paris, 1955, p. 264, ill.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 3, XIX–XX Centuries. New York, 1967, pp. 229–30.
Pierre Daix and Georges Boudaille. Picasso: The Blue and Rose Periods: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, 1900–1906. Greenwich, Conn., 1967, p. 202, no. VI.27, ill.
Paolo Lecaldano. L'opera completa di Picasso blu e rosa. Milan, 1968, p. 88, no. 13, ill.
Christian Zervos. Pablo Picasso. Vol. 21, Supplément aux anneés 1892-1902. Paris, 1969, p. 100, no. 263, ill.
George Heard Hamilton. "The Alfred Stieglitz Collection." Metropolitan Museum Journal 3 (1970), p. 379.
Josep Palau i Fabre. Picasso: The Early Years, 1881–1907. New York, 1981, pp. 275, 536, no. 692, ill.
Laszlo Glozer. Picasso: Les Chefs–d'oeuvre de la Pèriode bleue, 38 tableaux. Munich, 1988, p. 19, pl. II.
John Richardson with the collaboration of Marilyn McCully. A Life of Picasso. Vol. 1, 1881–1906. New York, 1991, p. 222, ill.
Denys Chevalier. Picasso: The Blue and Rose Periods. New York, 1991, p. 53, ill.
Pierre Daix. Dictionnaire Picasso. Paris, 1995, pp. 393, 566, 686, 783.
Octavi Marti. "Paris exhibe los inquietos Picassos de la juventud viajera del pintor." El País (November 2, 1998), p. 39.
Meyer Schapiro. The Unity of Picasso's Art. New York, 2000, pp. 11, 187, fig. 14.
Julia May Boddewyn in Michael FitzGerald. Picasso and American Art. Exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, 2006, pp. 359, 362.
José Luis Diez inPicasso: Tradition and Avant-Garde. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 2006, pp. 84, 87, fig. 2.1.
Anna Reuter inSpanish Painting from El Greco to Picasso. Ed. Carmen Giménez and Francisco Calvo Serraller. Exh. cat., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. New York, 2006, p. 226.
Ariella Budick. "In Pursuit of the Chameleon." Financial Times. April 30, 2010.
Tom Campbell and Gary Tinterow. Behind the Scenes at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2010, video.
Bobbie Leigh. "Picasso Revealed and Revered at the Met." Luxist. April 21, 2010.
Jerry Saltz. "Jerry Saltz Takes You through the Met's Massive Picasso Show." New York Magazine Online. May 4, 2010, video.
Lisa Mintz Messinger inStieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keeffe. The Alfred Stieglitz Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Lisa Mintz Messinger. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2011, pp. 52, 248, no. 22, ill. (color).