French painter and printmaker Pierre Bonnard was a member of the Nabis (Hebrew for “prophets”), a Parisian Post-Impressionist group. The Little Laundry Girl, possibly Bonnard’s most famous print, depicts one of the thousands of women and young girls employed by the Parisian laundry industry in the late 19th century. The Little Laundry Girl—one of 22 prints by various artists included in a portfolio issued by renowned Parisian art dealer and print publisher Ambroise Vollard—illustrates Bonnard’s fascination with Japanese woodblock prints. After viewing an exhibition of Japanese ukiyo-e prints at the école des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1890, Bonnard adopted their bold contours, flat passages of color, and asymmetrical compositions into his work. His primary print medium was lithography, in which he created more than 120 editioned projects between 1891 and 1947. Vollard kept this print as part of his private collection. When he died in 1939, another Parisian dealer, Henri M. Petiet, purchased Vollard’s entire stock from the estate. Like Vollard, Petiet refused to sell these prints and they began to be dispersed only after his death in 1980. Today, these scarce, pristine prints are highly sought after by collectors.


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Artist
Pierre Bonnard, French, 1867–1947
Printer
Auguste Clot
Publisher
Ambroise Vollard
Title
La Petite Blanchisseuse (The Little Laundry Girl)
from Album des Peintres-Graveurs (Album of Painter-Printmakers)
Date
1895–1896
Medium
Lithograph in colors on wove China paper, edition 38/100
Dimensions
Image: 11 5/8 × 7 3/4 in. (29.5 × 19.7 cm) Sheet: 22 3/8 × 17 in. (56.8 × 43.2 cm)
Credit Line

Museum purchase in memory of Virginia Jackson, funded by the Alvin S. Romansky Prints and Drawings Accessions Endowment Fund, the Marjorie G. and Evan C. Horning Print Fund, members of the Prints and Drawings subcommittee, and friends of Virginia Jackson

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number
2007.1762
Classification
Prints
Provenance

[Ambroise Vollard, Paris]; to the Estate of Ambroise Vollard, Paris; acquired by Henri M. Petiet (d. 1980), Paris, until 1980; inherited by the Petiet family, Paris; [Marc Rosen Fine Art, New York, by 2007]; purchased by MFAH, 2007.