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Woman washing

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas 1834 - 1917

Charcoal on laid paper 318 x 248 mm

Bequeathed by A.S.F. Gow, through the National Art Collections Fund, 1978

Collections record: PD.33-1978

Degas painted and drew women bathers from his youth, but explored the subject with particular enthusiasm from the 1880s.

Drawn around 1890, this study does not appear to be directly connected with any of Degas’s other paintings, pastels or lithographs of women washing or bathing. These images of models, intimately posed with draperies, tin baths and tables as studio ‘props’, were to a great extent influenced by Japanese woodblock prints.

In fact, Degas owned and hung above his bed in the last decades of his life a colour woodcut diptych entitled The Bath House by the Japanese printmaker Torii Kiyonaga (1752-1815), one of only two known impressions of this print.

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