Hanging up the wash in a Brooklyn backyard

This bucolic scene of a woman hanging clothes to dry in the sun really is in Brooklyn—the Brooklyn of the 1880s, that is, a boom time that gave the city new neighborhoods, parks, and of course, the Brooklyn Bridge.


Impressionist painter William Merritt Chase lived in Brooklyn from 1887 to 1890, and he often depicted it in his work: Prospect Park, Tompkins Park, and the East River were popular subjects.

“Wash Day—A Backyard Reminiscence of Brooklyn” shows a more intimate side of life in Kings County in a still country-like section of the city. A lone figure hidden behind a bonnet and in the shadows pins sheets to a clothesline, a necessary but mundane task no machine was available to do.

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5 Responses to “Hanging up the wash in a Brooklyn backyard”

  1. Hanging up the wash in a Brooklyn backyard — Ephemeral New York – Arteatromexperu's Weblog Says:

    […] a través de Hanging up the wash in a Brooklyn backyard — Ephemeral New York […]

  2. S.S. Says:

    Today we call it a solar-powered clothes dryer.

  3. steve freidus Says:

    Can you suggest any sources for letterheads of Manhattan based
    companies or organizations? Copies are OK.

    Thanks Steve

  4. The mystery man in a rowboat on the East River | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] I haven’t been able to confirm Chase as the artist. But as a Brooklyn resident in the 1880s, he often focused on the city’s physical beauty as well as scenes of day-to-day life that suggest a bit of mystery. […]

  5. A New York artist paints the 20th century | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] as fellow social realist painters Robert Henri (with whom she exhibited her works at art shows) and William Merritt Chase (her teacher at the Arts Student League in the […]

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