two women carrying bundles standing at the top of a staircase; off-white mat

Laundresses, 1893

Color etching and aquatintexpand_more

Bequest of Harry Drakeexpand_more  2013.35.581

Not on Viewexpand_more

For middle-class collectors in the late 19th century, this print would have seemed provocative and exotic. Rather than showing two upstanding, aristocratic women of different ages as a metaphor for the transience of life, Lepère featured two Parisian laundresses (40,000 strong at one time), low-paid working women who often fell into prostitution. Influenced by imported Japanese prints, for which prostitutes and actors were stock themes, Lepère also made use of Japanese printmakers’ artistic conventions, including the steep perspective, half-seen figures, and transparent pigments.

This etching is one of 896 works of art bequeathed to the museum by the late Harry Drake, a longtime and passionate patron of Mia.

Artist Life
Paris 1849–Domme, Dordogne 1918
Accession Number
Harry M. Drake, St. Paul; Estate of Harry M. Drake; bequeathed to MIA, 2013
Catalogue Raisonne
Lotz-Brissoneau 91
Curator Approved

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two women carrying bundles standing at the top of a staircase; off-white mat