Etching and aquatint
Image: 11.7 x 15.7 cm (4 5/8 x 6 3/16 in.); Sheet: 20.8 x 23.7 cm (8 3/16 x 9 5/16 in.)
Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 2020.223
Catalogue raisonné: Delteil 37; Reed and Shapiro 48
In addition to the needle traditionally used in etching, Edgar Degas employed unorthodox tools including a wire brush and a double-pointed steel accountant’s pen to make marks on the plate used for this print.
The Impressionist artist Edgar Degas explored etching briefly, from about 1875 through 1880. Created during this period, The Laundresses depicts several young women working at a Parisian laundry shop, hanging washed clothing and ironing. It is Degas’s only intaglio print that focused on laundresses, a popular subject in contemporary novels. Through the women’s hunched postures and the scale of the laundry pile at lower right, the artist emphasized the difficulty of such work.
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