The Laundress (La Blanchisseuse)

Object Details

Title:

The Laundress (La Blanchisseuse)

Artist/Maker(s):

Jean-Baptiste Greuze (French, 1725 - 1805)

Culture:

French

Place(s):

France (Place created)

Date:

1761

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

40.6 x 33 cm (16 x 13 in.)

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"This little laundress is charming, but she's a rascal I wouldn't trust an inch," the critic Denis Diderot declared when this painting was first exhibited in 1761. Indeed, Jean-Baptiste Greuze stripped the traditional theme of the washerwoman of its association with the virtue of hard work and instead overlaid it with a titillating sensuality typical of Rococo art. In a room scattered with wet and drying laundry, a disheveled maidservant with an exposed stocking and slipper fixes the viewer with a provocative gaze.

Greuze used a heavily loaded brush to apply patches of paint that describe texture and surface: the folds of the young woman's dress, the heaviness of wet cloth, the dull sheen on the pewter jug, and the grainy texture of wood.

Provenance
1761-1770

Ange-Laurent de La Live de Jully, French, 1725 - 1779, [sold, La Live de Jully sale, Rémy, Paris, May 2, 1770, lot 115, to Langlier (Paris, France) on behalf of Gustaf Adolph Sparre.]

1770 - 1794

Count Gustaf Adolph Sparre, 1746 - 1794 (Kulla Gunnarstorp, Skåne, Sweden), by inheritance to his wife Amelie, 1794.

1794-1830

Countess Amelie (Ramel) Sparre, died 1830 (Kulla Gunnarstorp, Skåne, Sweden), by inheritance to her grandson, Gustaf Adolf Frederik de la Gardie.

1830-1833

Count Gustaf Adolf Frederik de la Gardie, 1800 - 1833 (Kulla Gunnarstorp, Skåne, Sweden), by inheritence to his father, Count Jakob Gustaf de la Gardie.

1833-1837

Count Jakob Gustaf de la Gardie, Swedish, 1768 - 1842, sold to Count Carl de Geer, 1837.

1837 - 1855

Count Carl de Geer, 1781 - 1861 (Leufst, Sweden), by gift to his granddaughter, Elizabeth (von Platen) Wachtmeister, 1855.

1855-1918

Countess Elizabeth (von Platen) Wachtmeister, 1834 - 1918 (Wanås, Sweden), by inheritence within the Wachtmeister family to Gustaf Axel Wachtmeister.

by 1958 -1978

Count Gustav Axel Wachtmeister, 1887 - 1978 (Wanås, Sweden), by inheritence within the Wachtmeister family.

1978-1983

Wachtmeister Family, sold through Christophe Janet Ltd. (New York, New York) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983.

Exhibitions
Salon of 1761 (1761) (Cat. 102)
  • Salon, Palais du Louvre (Paris), 1761
Fem Sekler Fransk Konst: Miniatyrer, Malningar, Teckningar 1400-1900 (August 15 to November 9, 1958) (Cat. 90)
  • Nationalmuseum, (Stockholm), August 15 to November 9, 1958
Greuze the Painter: Los Angeles Works in Context (September 10 to December 1, 2002) (No cat.)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 10 to December 1, 2002
French Genre Painting in the Age of Watteau, Chardin, and Fragonard (June 6, 2003 to May 9, 2004) (Cat. 70)
  • National Gallery of Canada, (Ottawa), June 6 to September 7, 2003
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), October 12, 2003 to January 11, 2004
  • Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, (Berlin), February 4 to May 9, 2004
Bibliography

Reinewald, Chris. "Musea en Galeries in Amerika. Het Getty Museum: Een Romeinse villa aan de Pacific Coast." Tableau 9, no. 4 (February 1987), pp. 65, 67.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988), unpaginated, no. 35, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995), unpaginated, no. 34, ill., entry by Burton B. Fredericksen.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 57, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 130, ill.

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