The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 3, 2024

The Laundresses

The Laundresses

(French, 1834–1917)
Image: 11.6 x 15.7 cm (4 9/16 x 6 3/16 in.); Sheet: 21 x 23.8 cm (8 1/4 x 9 3/8 in.)
Catalogue raisonné: Delteil 37; Reed and Shapiro 48
Location: not on view

Did You Know?

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.
  • 1880-1918
    Studio of the artist, Paris
    (his sale, Galerie Manzi-Joyant, Paris, November 22-23, 1918, no. 95)
    (sale, Kornfeld and Klipstein, Bern, Switzerland, June 20, 1973, no. 161)
    by 1983-?
    (Artemis Group/David Carritt Limited, London)
    after 1983-2020
    Josefowitz Collection, Lausanne, Switzerland, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
    Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Catalogue des eaux-fortes, vernis-mous, aquatintes, lithographies et monotypes par Edgar Degas et provenant de son atelier. Paris: Galerie Manzi-Joyant, 1918. Mentioned: no. 95
    Delteil, Loys. Le Peintre-Graveur Illustré. Vol. 9. Paris: Chez l’auteur, 1919 Mentioned: no. 37
    Edgar Degas: 1834-1917. Exh. Cat. London: David Carritt Ltd., 1983. Mentioned and reproduced: no. 18
    Reed, Sue Welsh, and Barbara Stern Shapiro. Edgar Degas: The Painter As Printmaker. Exh. Cat. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1984. Mentioned: no. 48
    Richard Kendall, Anthea Callen, and Dillian Gordon. Degas: Images of Women. Exh. Cat. Liverpool: Tate, 1989. Mentioned: p. 40, no. 15
    Minder, Nicole, Eric Gillis, and Richard R. Brettell. Degas & Pissarro: alchimie d'une rencontre. Exh. Cat. Vevey: Musée Jenisch, 1998. Mentioned: no. 51
    Salsbury, Britany. Degas and the Laundress: Women, Work, and Impressionism Exh. Cat. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2023. Reproduced: p. 115, no. 12
  • Degas and the Laundress: Women, Work, and Impressionism. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (October 8, 2023-January 14, 2024).
    Edgar Degas, 1834-1917. David Carritt Limited, London (November 2 - December 9, 1983).
    Degas: Images of Women. Tate Liverpool (September 21, 1989 - December 31, 1989).
    Degas & Pissarro: Alchimie d'une rencontre. Cabinet cantonal des estampes, Musée Jenisch, Vevey, Switzerland (June 16 - August 22, 1999); Musée du Québec (May 5 - June 27, 1999); Israel Museum, Jerusalem (September - October 1999).
  • {{cite web|title=The Laundresses|url=false|author=Edgar Degas|year=1879–80|access-date=03 March 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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