Laveuse au Quai d'Anjou (Laundress on the Quai D’Anjou), ca. 1860
Oil on wood (cradled)
11 1/4 x 7 3/4 inches (28.6 x 19.7 cm)
George B. and Jenny R. Matthews Fund, 1964
Honoré Daumier began his artistic career painting Biblical and mythological scenes. By the middle of the nineteenth century, however, he began to focus on the world around him, stating that "one must be of one’s own time." Although he made his primary living through caricatures and cartoons of the social and political situation of his time, he also created numerous paintings illustrating life in the city.
Since he did not grow up in a wealthy family, Daumier particularly sympathized with the plight of Paris's urban poor. This painting illustrates a scene he saw almost every day in the neighborhood where he lived on an island in the Seine River—women with their children and bags of laundry climbing or descending the stairs that led to the laundry boats along the docks. The dreary and difficult life they led is, through light and shadow, symbolically contrasted with the more privileged life of the people living in the bright, large houses along the opposite side of the river.
Activities for Families (PDF)
The Gallery is closed. Please visit us tomorrow between 10 am and 5 pm.
Call Ahead to Confirm
Installation information is subject to change. If you are planning to visit the Gallery to see a specific work of art, please call us first to confirm that it will be on view.
Search our fine art Collection
The Albright-Knox has more than 6,500 works in its Collection. Search Our Entire Fine Art Collection