Support: Beige(1) wove
Sheet: 22.3 x 26 cm (8 3/4 x 10 1/4 in.); Image: 17 x 21.2 cm (6 11/16 x 8 3/8 in.)
Gift of John Bonebrake 2003.394
Catalogue raisonné: Fields p. 78, plate 29
Edition: 500 plus 50 deluxe
Wash boats had plied the Seine’s waters for centuries. Equipped with seats and scrubbing boards, the boats were originally created for poor Parisians to use in a time when running water was unavailable to them. Few remained by the end of the 19th century, however, a casualty of the increasing accessibility of running water and the rise of industrial machinery and inland laundries. Rivière juxtaposed the wash boat, steeped in Parisian tradition, with the new and modern Eiffel Tower, symbolically opposing past and present. While the decaying wash boat seems ephemeral, so did the Eiffel Tower, which was originally granted a 20-year life span and was scheduled for destruction in 1909.
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