Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)
Monotype in black ink on white heavy laid paper
Plate: 16 3/4 x 23 1/16 in. (42.5 x 58.6 cm); sheet: 19 3/4 x 25 1/2 in. (50.2 x 64.8 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, and C. Douglas Dillon Gift, 1968 (68.670)
As Degas strove to represent the female body with greater truth, women engaged in the intimate rituals of both the bath and the brothel became his frequent themes. During the 1870s, when novels by J.-K. Huysmans, Edmond de Goncourt, and Émile Zola focused on the flourishing profession of prostitution, Degas too studied the world of the maisons closes, and made about fifty smudged drawings in greasy ink on glass or metal plates which he printed as monotypes.