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A maid combs the hair of a girl who has been swimming; her bathing suit is stretched out on the ground to dry. Other objects – two parasols, a basket and a summer bonnet – are scattered around. A family group (some members wrapped in towels) is leaving the shoreline, as other people stroll in the distance.
Degas was a great admirer of Japanese prints, and adopted many aspects of their composition as well as their subject matter. The motif of a woman combing her hair or having it combed, which features in many Japanese prints, became part of his repertoire.
Oil (essence) on paper on canvas
H 47.5 x W 82.9 cm
Sir Hugh Lane Bequest, 1917