DEGAS, Edgar
(b. 1834, Paris, d. 1917, Paris)

Woman Ironing

1876
Oil on canvas, 81 x 66 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

Degas's paintings of the working class have a social content. He took up themes treated earlier by Honoré Daumier and painted women ironing, washerwomen. In contrast to Daumier, Degas saw no heroism in everyday modern work. He was interested in women who did the ironing at laundries. His first picture on this subject was done in 1869. By the turn of the century Degas had painted fourteen pictures on the subject, showing women ironing from various angles, singly or in twos, silhouetted or behind laundry.