A Woman Ironing

Edgar Degas French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 815

Much as Degas was fascinated by the movements of dancers, he was also intrigued by the repetitive, specialized gestures made by laundresses as they worked. This painting, the first of three versions of the composition, is distinguished by its dramatic chiaroscuro, with the woman silhouetted against a luminous white backdrop. Purchased by the singer and collector Jean-Baptiste Faure, the canvas was returned so that Degas could rework it. The artist, however, kept the picture and lent it to the 1876 Impressionist exhibition, receiving praise for his "rapidly done silhouettes of laundresses."

A Woman Ironing, Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris), Oil on canvas

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