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The Laundress

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.

Date:

1877/79

Artist:

Pierre-Auguste Renoir
French, 1841-1919

About this artwork

This canvas is Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s earliest painting of a laundress, a prevalent figure in the visual and literary culture of middle-class France in the 19th century. The model for the figure was Nini Lopez, a resident of Montmartre, the Parisian quarter to which Renoir moved in the summer of 1876. Lopez was characterized by writer and art critic Georges Rivière as the ideal model, for she was “punctual, serious, [and] discreet.” But while Lopez can be identified in The Laundress, this is not a portrait; her features are generalized and dissolve into a frenzy of brushstrokes. Instead, Renoir depicted a Parisian type—in this case, a young, working-class girl. When he painted this canvas, Renoir had recently finished four illustrations for Émile Zola’s L’Assommoir (The Drunkard), a gritty novel about the downfall of a laundress in the brutal and degrading world of working-class Paris. Renoir’s vibrant portrayal of the laundress in this canvas is markedly different from the laundress’s illustrated appearance, for which the Art Institute has a preparatory drawing.

Status

On View, Gallery 201

Department

Painting and Sculpture of Europe

Artist

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Title

The Laundress

Origin

France

Date

1877–1879

Medium

Oil on canvas

Inscriptions

Inscribed lower left: Renoir

Dimensions

80.8 × 56.5 cm (31 13/16 × 22 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection

Reference Number

1947.102

IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/59944/manifest.json

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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