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Woman Drying Herself After the Bath, 1876-77

Edgar Degas

French, 1834-1917
Pastel over monotype on paper
18 x 23-3/4 in. (45.7 x 60.3 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
F.1978.04.P
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Degas shared with the Impressionists an interest in highly keyed colors and rapidly executed gestures, as well as a passionate preoccupation with the effects of light. Light and shadow are critical to this composition. The light emanating from the almost unseen fixture above the dressing table illuminates a woman drying after her bath. We see only the edges of the light along her right side where it defines her form, otherwise lost in shadow. The burst of highlights on the spray of petticoats aptly balances the woman's dark shadow spilling onto the bed and acts as a foil for the rigid upright black of the open doorway.

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