Degas's laundress pictures paralleled his more famous ballet dancer series. For both he studied the precise movements of women at work.
The art of Degas was that of a 'Naturalist', depicting what was considered vulgar - laundresses were commonly thought of as borderline prostitutes - in a way that was almost scientific.
A double viewpoint is used - looking straight at the woman's face and down at her board. Her outlined and cropped figure also indicate Degas's debts to both Japanese art and snapshot photography.