OIL PAINTING: Women Ironing, 1884-1886
Degas's laundress paintings paralleled his more famous ballet dancer series. For both he studied the precise movements of women at work.
The art of Degas was that of a 'Naturalist', depicting what was considered vulgar - laundresses were commonly thought of as borderline prostitutes - in a way that was almost scientific.
A double viewpoint is used in Women Ironing - looking straight at the women's face and down at their boards. Their outlined and cropped figures also indicate Degas's debts to both Japanese art and snapshot photography.