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Goncharova met her partner, the artist Michel Larionov, in 1900. This painting can be seen as a coded commentary on their life together. The two sides of the work are divided between male (shirts, collars and cuffs) and female (lace, blouses, aprons) items of laundry. The Russian inscriptions suggest a commercial launderette sign: Prache is part of the word for laundry, b.s. is an abbreviation for ‘white wash’, and BOT possibly part of the word rabota meaning ‘work’. The iron bears a monogram with the artist’s initials NG.

May 2012