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The Laundresses

The Laundresses

The Laundresses

The Laundresses

Date: c.1756–61

Artist: Jean-Honoré Fragonard, French, 1732–1806

Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions:
28 3/4 x 24 3/16 in. (73 x 61.5 cm)
framed: 32 1/2 x 37 3/16 in. (82.5 x 94.5 cm)
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object Number: 76:1937
Place made:France
Classification: PAINTINGS
Current Location:On View, Gallery 202
Terms
Notes:Two women in bright white and yellow form the focal point of this composition. They toil within a stifling atmosphere of dense steam clouds in a laundry. Jean-Honoré Fragonard, a favorite artist at court, often chose working class people as subjects. Here he captures the demanding physical labor that washing required, most notably in the figure carrying a heavy bundle. The artist makes visible the intense heat of the kettle; contemporary laundry treatises recommended a seventeen-hour process with temperatures near boiling.
ProvenancePrivate Collection, Moscow, Russia [1]

Benedict Cathabard (1869?-1917), Lyons, France

by 1921 -
Bachstitz Gallery, The Hague, The Netherlands [2]

Private Collection, New York, NY, USA [3]

- 1937
Arnold Seligmann, Rey & Co., Inc., New York, NY

1937 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Arnold Seligmann, Rey & Co., Inc. [4]


Notes:
The main source for this provenance is an exhibition catalog by Pierre Rosenberg [Rosenberg, Pierre. "Fragonard." New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1988, cat. no. 21]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] This was the only collection listed on the invoice from Arnold Seligmann, Rey & Co. [dated January 5, 1938; SLAM document files]. It is plausible that Seligmann simply did not list the other collections because two of them were dealers.

[2] The painting is in the undated catalogue of the Bachstitz Gallery which Pierre Rosenberg dates as 1921 [Bachstitz Gallery. "Catalogue of Paintings and Tapestries." Vol. 1 of "Catalogue." Berlin: Albert Frisch [1921], cat. no. 68].

[3] Wildenstein lists the painting as being in a private collection in New York after it was in the Cathabard Collection [Wildenstein, Georges. "The Paintings of Fragonard." New York: Phaidon, 1960, cat. no. 361].

[4] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, November 4, 1937.
Exhibition History
Title: France in the Eighteenth Century
Date: January 6 - March 3, 1968
Venue: Royal Academy of Arts, London

Title: Jean Honore Fragonard
Date: September 24, 1987 - May 8, 1988
Venue: Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
Venue: TheMet

Title: Eighteenth Century France, a Study of its Art and Civilization
Date: March 12 - May 15, 1972
Venue: University Art Gallery, University of Notre Dame

Title: The Venetian Tradition
Date: November 8, 1956 – January 1, 1957
Venue: The Cleveland Museum of Art

Title: Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806)
Date: November 6, 2006–February 11, 2007
Venue: CaixaForum, Barcelona
Venue: CaixaForum, Madrid

Title: Fifty Masterworks from the City Art Museum of St. Louis
Date: November 6 - December 13, 1958
Venue: Wildenstein & Co.

Title: The Rococo Age: French Masterpieces of the Eighteenth Century
Date: October 5, 1983 - January 1, 1984
Venue: High Museum of Art

Title: Notable Paintings by Great Masters
Date: 1922
Venue: P. Jackson Higgs

Title: Age of Elegance, The Rococo and its Effect
Date: April 25 - June 14, 1959
Venue: The Baltimore Museum of Art

Title: The Age Of Watteau, Chardin And Fragonard: Masterpieces Of French Genre Painting
Date: June 6, 2003 - May 9, 2004
Venue: National Gallery of Canada / Musée des Beaux-Arts du Canada, Ottawa
Venue: National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Venue: Alte Nationalgalerie

Title: Painter's Painters
Date: April 16 - May 30, 1954
Venue: Buffalo Fine Arts Academy

Title: Space in Painting
Date: January 28 - March 7, 1952
Venue: University Gallery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Title: French Painting in the Age of Madame de Pompadour
Date: October 11, 2008 – May 17, 2009
Venue: Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tours
Venue: Portland Art Museum

Publication History
Title: Handbook of the Collections: The City Art Museum of Saint Louis
Year Published: 1953

Title: The Wash Women by Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806)
Periodical Title: Bulletin of the City Art Museum of Saint Louis
Edition: July 1938
Year Published: 1938

Title: A Catalogue of XV-XVIII Century French Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum
Year Published: 1955

Title: Fragonard, L'Instant Désiré
Year Published: 1994

Title: The St. Louis Art Museum: Handbook of the Collections
Year Published: 1975

Title: The Rococo Age: French Masterpieces of the Eighteenth Century
Year Published: 1983

Title: Painters' Painters
Year Published: 1954

Title: Important Paintings by Old Masters
Edition: January 15
Year Published: 1988

Title: L'Europe
Year Published: 1983

Title: Jean-Luc Baroni Ltd., Master Paintings and Sculpture 2003
Year Published: 2003

Title: Honore Fragonard
Year Published: 1889

Title: Fragonard
Year Published: 1988

Title: Venetian Tradition
Year Published: 1956

Title: The Age of Watteau, Chardin, and Fragonard: Masterpieces of French Genre Painting
Year Published: 2003

Title: Fragonard
Year Published: 1983

Title: Recent Important Acquisitions of American Museums
Periodical Title: The Art Quarterly
Edition: Autumn
Year Published: 1938

Title: Fragonard
Year Published: 1987

Title: Fragonard
Year Published: 1987

Title: The Saint Louis Art Museum Handbook of the Collections
Year Published: 1991

Title: Age of Elegance, The Rococo and its Effect
Year Published: 1959

Title: French Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
Periodical Title: The Saint Louis Art Museum Bulletin
Edition: Summer
Year Published: 1981

Title: The Paintings of Fragonard
Year Published: 1960

Title: France in the Eighteenth Century
Year Published: 1968

Title: Your Museum Transformed
Year Published: 2013

Title: Saint Louis Acquires French, Chinese Art
Periodical Title: The Art Digest
Edition: August 1
Year Published: 1938

Title: La volupte du gout : French painting in the age of Madame de Pompadour
Year Published: 2008

Title: Fragonard
Year Published: 2006

Title: Das Interieur in der Malerei
Year Published: 2009

Title: Fifty Masterworks from the City Art Museum of St. Louis
Year Published: 1958

Title: Fragonard
Year Published: 1967

Title: Tout l'oeuvre peint de Fragonard
Year Published: 1989

Title: Eighteenth Century France: A Study of its Art and Civilization
Year Published: 1972

Title: l'Opera Completa di Fragonard
Year Published: 1972

Title: Catalogue of Paintings and Tapestries
Year Published: 1921

Title: Notable Paintings by Great Masters
Year Published: 1922

Title: Fragonard, sa vie et son oeuvre
Year Published: 1956

Title: Saint Louis Art Museum: Handbook of the Collection
Year Published: 2004

Title: Handbook of the Collections: The City Art Museum of Saint Louis
Year Published: 1944