Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty

*Woman Reclining on Her Bed (Femme étendue sur son lit)*

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas. Woman Reclining on Her Bed (Femme étendue sur son lit). 1879–83 611

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917). Woman Reclining on Her Bed (Femme étendue sur son lit). c. 1879–83. Monotype on paper. Plate: 7 13/16 × 16 5/16″ (19.9 × 41.5 cm), sheet: 8 3/4 × 16 1/2″ (22.2 × 41.9 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago. Clarence Buckingham Collection. Photography © The Art Institute of Chicago

Jodi Hauptman: In these works, we’re seeing Degas's most daring application of the monotype medium.

Narrator: On the left, you see the first pull of the monotype; on the right, the second, covered in pastel. 

Karl Buchberg: Woman Reclining on Her Bed is a beautiful dark-field image. It is clearly a scene at night.Female Nude Reclining is a second pull from the same plate, but the whole aspect has been radically changed. Degas has expanded the composition top and bottom. So whereas it was a long, horizontal image, it is now closer to a square. And you can see that apparently it is during the day and that her body is brightly lit.

Jodi Hauptman: You see something that's completely ambiguous in the first, difficult to read these women are really of their atmosphere, and really have a sense of privacy or intimacy. And in the pastel version, she's much more defined. And there's no question about what it is that you're looking at.

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