Etching with engraving on Japanese paper
Sheet: 26.4 x 19.6 cm (10 3/8 x 7 11/16 in.); Image: 24.6 x 18.8 cm (9 11/16 x 7 3/8 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1953.10
Catalogue raisonné: Delteil & Wright 24
Charles Meryon used etching—a technique that involves drawing on a printing plate with a needle’s point—to create minutely detailed images of Paris that imaginatively present recognizable sites. This print features bateaux-lavoirs (wash boats) on the Seine River, where laundresses could purchase a spot to do their washing. The boats appealed to Meryon, who was fascinated by Paris’s gradual transformation. Since they attracted crowds of working-class women, administrators considered the boats unsightly and unhygienic, repeatedly pushing them closer to the city’s outskirts until few remained by the end of the 1800s.
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