Van Gogh Museum acquires a unique Degas pastel

In a first for the Netherlands, the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam has acquired a fully worked out pastel by French impressionist Edgar Degas, which will be on show from next Wednesday.

The Van Gogh Museum has acquired an important pastel by the French Impressionist Edgar Degas (1834–1917): ‘Woman Bathing’, c. 1886. The pastel was bought at Sotheby’s in New York for €6m. The money was raised by the BankGiro Loterij, the Mondriaan Fonds and the Trition Collection Foundation.

The work presents an intimate view of a nude woman washing herself with a sponge. Degas made masterful use of pastels to render the light on her body subtly and softly, but the treatment of the background is also very striking.

Woman Bathing is one of around ten ambitious pastels made between 1884 and 1887 from a period in which Degas focused all his effort on depicting female nudes.

Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) was a great admirer of these drawings and his own work was influenced by them, both in technique and composition.

The acquisition of this fully worked-out pastel is the first unique top-ranking piece by Degas to enter the Dutch national collection.

Bathing Woman will be exhibited among other works from Van Gogh’s Parisian period and other works by contemporaries such as Claude Monet and Gustave Caillebotte.


Photo: Curator Fleur Roos Rosa de Carvalho (right) and collection staff member Anne Steegstra (right). Photo: Jan-Kees Steenman

[Source: Van Gogh Museum]

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