Edgar Degas Paintings
Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas was born in Paris into a well-to-do banking family. His father, whose family originated from Breton nobility, was born in Naples and his Creole mother, Célestine Musson, was born in New Orleans. She died in 1847 when Edgar Degas was 13 years old. His grandfather (who had left France at the time of the French Revolution) and his father always signed their names ‘de Gas’, a usage that Edgar continued until about 1870. He only signed works when he sold or exhibited them, and after his death, the executors of his estate stamped red signatures on all the works in his studio. Edgar Degas rarely dated his works.
He went to school at the prestigious Lycée Louis-le-Grand. His father was an enlightened connoisseur who introduced his son to art and music and was acquainted with famous collectors of the time. In 1852, Edgar Degas set up a studio in the fourth floor of the family building on Rue Mondavi. He began studying law in 1853, according to his father’s wishes, and gave up after one term to follow his vocation for painting. He studied briefly under Félix Joseph Barrias in 1853 and then with Louis Lamothe, a pupil of Ingres and Hippolyte Flandrin. In April 1855, he entered the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris but soon gave this up to focus on copying works in the Louvre. There, he met Edouard Manet and Mary Cassatt, among others. He continued working in museums during his long stay in Italy from 1856 to 1859, where he visited family members in Naples, Florence, and Tuscany.
In Rome, he also attended classes at the Villa Medici and met regularly with the Macchiaoli painters. He produced about 15 self-portraits during this time, as well as numerous portraits of his Italian family members. He returned to Paris in 1860 and settled in his own studio on Rue Madame, in the Sixth Arrondissement. An alert observer and a prolific worker, he worked essentially in his workshop, but an interest in studying movement soon led him to the racecourses, and, from the 1860s onward, he became a frequent visitor of the Paris Opéra and its Foyer de la Danse in Rue Pelletier. In the early 1860s, Manet introduced him to a group of young artists who called themselves the Indépendants and met regularly at the Café Guerbois on Avenue de Clichy; they were to become known as the Impressionists over the following decade.
Edgar Degas, a republican, joined the army during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871 to defend Paris. In the artillery division of the French National Guard, he found himself serving under his former schoolmate Henri Rouart, who was then captain of the artillery. For a couple of years, Edgar Degas had been suffering from serious trouble in his right eye. The precise cause could not be determined, but it seemed to be because of a chronic infection. His eyesight deteriorated progressively, leaving him partially blind during his last years. After the war, he travelled to Normandy to stay with his friends, the Valpinçons; in 1872 he went to London. There, he arranged for his passage to New Orleans, sailing in October 1872 to visit his brothers René and Achille. Edgar Degas spent five months in New Orleans, focusing on family portraits and working on his Portraits in an Office, New Orleans (1873).
He returned to Paris, where the Groupe des Indépendants now met in the Café de la Nouvelle-Athènes in the Batignolles area. In 1873, he helped organise an exhibition staged by Monet and the Batignolles painters as an alternative to the official Salon. He thus became a member of the organisation founded in December 1873 to promote ‘independent art’ – the Société Anonyme Coopérative à Capital Variable des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs et Graveurs, Etc. – free from the Academic constraints of the time. The Société organised a series of exhibitions in alternative spaces, starting in 1874 in Felix Nadar’s studio. In April 1873, Edgar Degas settled in the Rue Blanche (in the Ninth Arrondissement) and went briefly to Italy to take care of his father, who died the following year in Naples. His inheritance was a complex one as the small family business had been struggling for a few years and successive loans had put it in difficulty. Forced to pay off some of these debts, Edgar Degas needed, for the first time in his life, to earn a living. He had, however, established a strong reputation among French art circles and participated – from 1866 to 1870 – in the prestigious Salon, held each year in Paris.
In addition to several London shows in 1872 and 1873, he participated in seven of the eight Impressionist group shows from 1874 to 1886. From 1872 on, he also sold his works to dealers such as Paul Durand-Ruel and Ambroise Vollard, and several British collectors acquired his works. His Ballet Scene from Robert le Diable (an opera by Meyerbeer) was the first work by an Impressionist to enter a British public collection (Victoria and Albert Museum, London). However, the only picture to be acquired by a museum in his lifetime was Portraits in an Office, New Orleans (finished 1873, now in the Musée Municipal, Pau, France). Although Edgar Degas travelled extensively – and frequently to Italy – he spent almost all his life in France, particularly Paris. He visited Spain in 1880 and 1889 – when he also travelled to Morocco with Giovanni Boldoni – went to Switzerland in September 1882, spent the summers of 1896 and 1897 in the Mont-Dore spa, in central France, and the summer of 1898 on the northern coast of France, in Valery-sur-Somme.
He also made various trips to Normandy (from 1861) and Burgundy (1890) and travelled to the Vosges mountains in 1904. In 1894–1895, he developed a passion for photography and produced numerous portraits of Stéphane Mallarmé, Auguste Renoir, and the Halévy family, some self-portraits, and photographs of models (nudes and dancing figures) and landscapes, which he used as working material. The camera provided Edgar Degas with a new tool for sketching and introduced a new distance between perception and reality. There are fewer than fifty known surviving photographs.
Edgar Degas was also a keen collector who sometimes went daily to Drouot, the Parisian auction house. He dedicated a floor of his house to his collection of paintings, drawings, curios, and statuettes. He started his collection in the 1890s and bought works by Camille Corot, Manet, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, and Eugène Delacroix. Degas met Ingres on three occasions: in 1855 he persuaded his friend Edward Valpinçon to lend his Bather, by Ingres, to the Exposition Universelle and accompanied Valpinçon to Ingres’s studio, where he collected and returned the painting; Ingres advised Edgar Degas to ‘draw lines, either from memory or from nature’. Edgar Degas visited Ingres once again in 1863, when Ingres – then 83 years old – organised a one-man show in his own studio on Quai Voltaire.
Edgar Degas was a relatively solitary man, intransigent, enigmatic, and caustic, or ‘brilliant and insufferable’, as the poet Paul Valéry once said. Always a compulsive walker, he continued his promenades into old age. He lived in Montmartre for more than 20 years. He rented the top three stories of a house on the Rue de Laval (now Rue Victor-Massé), opposite the famous dancing and music hall Bal Tabarin. He had his living quarters on the first floor, his collection on the second, and his studio in the attic. In 1912, the building was demolished, and Edgar Degas was forced to move. He rented an apartment and studio on the Boulevard de Clichy.
By 1898, Edgar Degas had become almost blind and was tormented by multiple health problems that began to prevent him from working. When he could no longer see well enough to paint or draw, he turned to sculpture as his sole means of expression, until his deteriorating eyesight forced him to stop working altogether. After his 1912 move, his niece Jeanne Fèvre took care of him. His mental health slowly deteriorated and he died in September 1917.
A seminal painter and sculptor, Edgar Degas was a naturalist until the mid-1870s, rendering space in a manner inherited from the classical Romantic tradition. Both a traditionalist and a revolutionary, he painted scenes of contemporary Parisian life: behind-the-scenes images of dancers rehearsing or resting, horse-racing scenes, the intimate gestures of women washing or women at work. He strove to depict movement and the human figure in motion. His innovations were both technical and aesthetic, and he foreshadowed many developments in 20th-century painting. Although he participated in the Impressionist exhibitions, he considered himself one of the Indépendant artists. However, as a realist or naturalist, he shared the Impressionists’ aesthetic convictions with regards to both technique and subject matter.
He too pursued a vision of modern life, and his fascination with movement mirrored the Impressionists’ desire to capture the fugitive moment. He was not, however, interested in the transient effects of light and colour. His concern for expression and the clarity of outline set him apart from the Impressionists, as did the fact that he worked with models in his studio and from his imagination. Degas’s precise style, his reliance on drawing, and his method of composition were at odds with those of the Impressionists. His technique also differed in its search for novelty; he was constantly exploring new mediums, experimenting with monotypes, etching, lithography, pastels, sculpture, and photography. He remained the most accomplished draughtsman among the Impressionists and was the only one of them to generate a major body of sculptures.
His work can be divided into several periods: the copies and early portraits; history subjects in the 1860s; scenes from modern life – racecourses, theatre, group portraiture, genre subjects – from 1865 onwards; and female ballet dancers, women at work, landscapes, and urban leisure scenes from the early 1870s onwards. In the 1880s, he increasingly turned to pastel and experimented with monotypes and wax sculptures. In the 1890s, his art was characterised by broader strokes of paint and more vibrant colors.
In the 1850s, after working at the Louvre in Paris, he copied paintings in different Italian museums, choosing models from the Italian Quattrocento painters, the great masters of the 16th century and statues from antiquity. He also painted portraits, in which he represented his friends and family members or sometimes himself (he gave up painting his own face after the age of 31), with a particular attention on his sitters’ personalities, gestures, and unusual features. His mode of observation and attention to detail bring him close to the Flemish tradition while his treatment of line shows the influence of Ingres. He gradually gained more freedom of expression, breaking with the conventions of his earlier compositions.
His portrait of the Bellelli family (1858–1867) was quite daring for the patriarchal society of the 19th century. It shows a family in its home, with many allusions to a delicate political situation: the marginal position of the father, seen from behind, at the right side of the painting; the pregnant and mourning mother; the drawing on the wall representing Degas’s grandfather, which reveals the painter’s desire to represent the span of four generations in the same picture (Edgar Degas pencil drawings). From 1856 to 1865, he executed several history paintings, or works with historical or Biblical themes, but his Neo-Classical compositions, mainly inspired by Greek literature, were perhaps overly ambitious; Young Spartans Exercising (c. 1860) was reworked several times, leaving numerous related drawings and studies. His interest in the nude and in body movement was already apparent. From 1860 to 1872, he made his first studies of horses and races, influenced by the English sporting pictures by painters such as John Frederick Herring and Henry Alken.
His Steeplechase: The Fallen Jockey – which he presented in the 1866 Salon – is marked by his interest in immediacy. He was influenced both by photography and Japanese prints, incorporating close-up views and new layouts in his compositions. He was inspired by the works of Honoré Daumier, the satirical lithographs of Paul Gavarni, and the naturalist trend in the literature of the time, exemplified by such writers as Edmond Duranty and Émile Zola. He often went looking for subjects out of his own social sphere and started drawing and painting laundresses in the mid-1860s, deliberately refusing to adopt an allegorical or moral tone that was customary at the time. Over a 30-year period, Degas created 27 works depicting laundresses.
From 1866 onwards, he painted portraits of singers and musicians while frequenting the Opéra in the Rue le Pelletier. Ballet dancers were to feature largely in his work, representing more than a third of his pastels and paintings and even more drawings, prints, and sculptures. However, he never represented a dancer on pointe except in The Rehearsal of the Ballet on Stage (1874) but rather showed figures anticipating or concluding movement, thus creating a vision of dynamic forms in space. The patterns and rhythms of the working women he depicted led him to experiment with pictorial space. He used the horizontal format in order to create a panoramic sense of space and sometimes worked in relatively small formats, such as The Dancing Class (probably 1871, 7¾ × 10½ ins/19.7 × 27 cm).
Inspired by the work of the Tuscan Mannerists and Japanese prints, he viewed subjects from unusual angles, often partially cut off by the margin or out of focus, as in The Orchestra of the Opera (1868), in which the heads and shoulders of the dancers are cropped to focus on the contrast between the musicians in the orchestra pit and the brightly lit dancers’ legs and tutus above. In these off-centre compositions, Degas used stylistic repoussoirs, or devices – usually a strongly defined shape in the foreground of a picture – that effectively led the viewer’s eye to the main event and gave the picture greater depth. In The Orchestra of the Opera, the top of a double bass acts as the repoussoir, crossing out the top of the immediate foreground, forcing the viewer to focus on the figures behind. In doing this, Degas introduced a new visual interplay between the space of the painting and the space of the spectator, using artificial illumination to increase this effect.
Models posed for him several times a week, sometimes twice a day. Deeply interested in the psychological study of his models, he represented women engaged in intimate and real-life situations, including their ‘toilette’ – bathing, grooming, or drying their hair – often seen from the back. There was no attempt to exclude their sometimes awkward and intimate postures. ‘The nude’, he said, ‘has always been portrayed in postures that presuppose an audience. But my women are simple, straightforward women, concerned with nothing beyond their physical existence . . . It’s as though one is peeping through a keyhole’.
Edgar Degas also painted more than 300 landscapes. They were always made from memory, free from the constraints of detail and thus enhanced by the structure of the landscape and its atmosphere. He produced three series of landscapes (1869, 1890–1892, 1895–1898), a series of marines about 1869 – painted at the Manets’ holiday home in Boulogne-sur-Mer – and, from 1890 to 1892, a series of landscape monotypes made on a visit to see Pierre-Georges Janniot in Burgundy with the sculptor Albert Bartholomé. Using Janniot’s printing press, Degas worked on the monotypes in oil paints in a range of colours. He worked from memory, creating an imaginary space with no depth, keeping the marks of ink on the paper. On returning to Paris, he continued this technique, relying almost entirely on colour and ignoring line.
Degas produced 300 monotypes between 1874 and 1884, and these demonstrate a great flexibility and freedom of expression. In these he worked by wiping, brushing, or rubbing away ink applied to etching plates, creating images with black backgrounds. He usually made a second print after he had drawn figures, for which he used pastel and gouache. The separation between mass and the surface brought him closer to the Impressionist technique. Around 1876, he began to make lithographs. The catalogue of his prints, compiled at the time of the sale of the contents of his studio (22 November 1918), includes large numbers of etchings, soft-ground etchings (vernis-mous), aquatints, lithographs, and monotypes.
Edgar Degas chose to work in his studio from memory and from sketches; in any event, his troubled eyesight prevented him from painting outdoors. He used stocks of drawings, filling 88 sketchbooks in his lifetime. In his youth, he used a lead pencil, attaining an Ingres-esque quality. In the mid-1860s, he preferred black chalk blended with a ‘tortillon’ (stump), then used black crayon before working almost exclusively in charcoal, which was better adapted to his vigorous lines. He used a plumb line and callipers, as well as tracing paper, for both the preparatory drawings and the final work. He transferred charcoal figures from paper to paper, creating tracings of tracings that he enlarged to develop a particular detail. He would then work on them in pastel. He also pressed charcoal drawings on sheets of dampened paper and eventually worked on the resulting print with pastel.
Degas seldom used watercolour, preferring oil, but then gradually turned to pastels, exploiting the technical freedom this media offered him, creating strong luminous backgrounds with delicate strokes as well as slashes and hatching. Around 1879, he made use of what he called an ‘electrical crayon’, a carbon rod from an arc lamp that he had found in his friend Alexis Rouart’s factory. This became his regular medium for etching, providing a silvery tonality. Degas also painted 25 fans and just one still-life.
In the late 1860s, Edgar Degas started modelling small sculptures in wax or a soft material composed chiefly of wax. He represented horses and, about 1898, many dancers and nude bathers. There are three known sculptures of busts, two of which have disappeared – one of a painter friend and one of Hortense Valpinçon. He used the same postures as those in his drawings and paintings, exploring all aspects of the form in action. He chose wax for its expressiveness, colouring it with different hues to further this effect. Over time, as he concentrated on the observation of mass rather than detail, his figures became rougher. Most of these works were experiments: ‘They are exercises to get me going: documentary, preparatory motions’, he told Francois Thiebault-Sisson in Le Temps. They were fragile and were not made to last. Two sculptures emerge as extraordinarily innovative works, made with actual as well as represented materials.
In The Tub, a nude bather sits in a real lead basin resting on a wooden base with plaster-soaked rags; the audacity of the sculpture lies in the unusual approach to the figure, which can only be fully viewed from above because of her twisting arms and legs. Dressed Ballet Dancer ( or Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen, 1880–1881) is the largest of his sculptures and the only one that Edgar Degas exhibited in his lifetime. He conceived it for the Fifth Impressionist Exhibition, in 1880, and finally displayed it at the Sixth Impressionist Exhibition in 1881. It represents Marie van Goethem, a pupil from the ballet class at the Paris Opéra, and can be seen as a synthesis of his research as a sculptor. The figure is dressed in a cloth costume, with a bodice and a gauze tutu with a silk ribbon and pink ballet slippers, and has a long horsehair braid tied with another ribbon.
The critic and novelist J. K. Huysmans was one of the few to appreciate its modernity, describing it as ‘both refined and barbaric with her busy costume and her coloured flesh, palpitating, lined with the work of its muscles’. The sculpture shook up the conventions of Academic sculpture, which were based on the study of antiquity, and was thus generally judged harshly realistic, even bestial. This rejection discouraged Degas from publicly showing sculpture again. With the exception of this piece, the dates of his sculptures are not known. After his death, 150 wax and modelling-clay sculptures were found in his studio, according to the dealer Durand-Ruel’s 1917 inventory. These statuettes were the ones to survive the bad conditions of conservation and Degas’s improvised armatures. His heirs and executors agreed to cast 73 of his wax originals in bronze.
At the end of World War I, Edgar Degas’s longtime friend, the sculptor Paul-Albert Bartholomé, prepared the sculptures, and casting was entrusted to the Hébrard foundry. An edition of 22 copies of each figure was made by Albino Palazzolo, the foundry master, according to the lost-wax casting technique, and five copies were made of a 74th sculpture, The Schoolgirl (or Woman Walking in the Street). Hébrard also cast twenty other bronzes. In 1955, all but four of the originals, until then thought to be destroyed, were found in the cellar of Hébrard’s house; these were acquired by Paul Mellon. The lost-wax technique required that the originals be first cast in plaster. Two plaster casts made of the Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen, are now in the Joslyn Art Museum, in Omaha, Nebraska, and in the Foundry Valsuani.
Basel (Kunstmus.): Femme à sa toilette (1892, pastel); Jockey blessé (1896–1898, oil on canvas)
Bergamo (Accademia Carrara): Two Little Girls Looking at an Album (Due ragazzine che guardono un album) (c. 1884, pastel); Self-portrait (Autoritratto) (1900–1905, pastel)
Berlin: Conversation at the Milliner’s
Boston (Isabella Stewart Gardner Mus.): A Ballerina (pastel and chalk on paper); Racehorse (black and white chalk on paper); Landscape (pastel over monotype); Madame Gaujelin or Woman with Clasped Hands (oil on canvas)
Boston (MFA): Edmondo and Thérèse Morbilli (c. 1867, oil on canvas); Degas’ Father Listening to Lorenzo Pagans Playing Guitar (c. 1869–1872, oil on canvas); At the Races in the Countryside (Aux courses en province) (1869, oil on canvas); Race Horses at Longchamp (1871, possibly reworked in 1874, oil on canvas); The Entombment of Christ (1848, oil on canvas); Portrait of a Man (oil on canvas); Portrait of Edmondo Morbilli (1865, charcoal); René de Gas, the Artist’s Brother (1861–1862, softground etching); Marguerite de Gas, the Artist’s Sister (1860–1862, etching and dry point); Landscape (1892, pastel); Autumn Effect (1890, monotype); Dancers in Rose (c. 1900, pastel); Edouard Manet, Bust-Length Portrait (1864–1865, etching, drypoint, and aquatint); Landscape (1890, pastel); Beside the Sea (1890, monotype); Duchessa di Montejasi with Her Daughters, Elena and Camilla (c. 1876, oil on canvas); Visit to a Museum (c. 1878–1880, oil on canvas)
Brooklyn (Mus.): Portrait of a Man; Mademoiselle Fiocre in the Ballet ‘La Source’; Woman in a Tub; Woman Drying Her Hair; Portrait of Mademoiselle Eugénie Fiocre in the Ballet ‘La Source’ (1867–1868)
Brussels (Mus. Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique): Cheval au trot, les pieds ne touchant pas le sol (1879–1886, cast 1920–1921, bronze)
Buenos Aires: Diego Martelli
Cambridge, MA (Fogg AM, Harvard University): Study for ‘The Young Spartans Exercising’ (c. 1860–1861, oil on paper); At the Races: The Start (c. 1860–1862, oil on canvas); Madame Alice Villette (1872, oil on canvas); Cotton Merchants in New Orleans (1873, oil on linen); Two Dancers Entering the Stage (c. 1877–1878, pastel over monotype); Woman Holding Her Neck; Dancers, Nude Study (1899, drawing); Getting out of the Bath; The Rehearsal (1873–1878); After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself (1893–1898, crayon); Untitled (Self-portrait in Library) (probably 1895, gelatin silver print); A Nude Youth Crawling, Study for ‘Young Spartans Exercising’ (c. 1860, oil on paper); Lorenzo de Medici and Attendants after ‘The Procession of the Magi’ (1860, graphite on paper); Study for ‘James-Jacques-Joseph Tissot’ (c. 1867–1868, chalk on paper); Half-length Study of a Woman (c. 1890, charcoal and pastel on paper); Italian Girl (c. 1856, watercolour and graphite on paper); René Degas, Convalescent (c. 1855, graphite on paper); Study for ‘Julie Burtley’ (1867, graphite on paper); Study for ‘Diego Martelli’ (1879, chalk on paper); After the Bath, Woman Drying Her Hair (charcoal and chalk); Edouard Manet (c. 1866–1868, black chalk); Giovanna Bellelli (c. 1858, red chalk); View of Mount Vesuvius (c. 1856, graphite); Arabesque over Right Leg, Left Arm in Line (1919–1921, bronze); Horse Trotting, the Feet Not Touching the Ground (c. 1881–1890, bronze); Woman Taken Unawares (1896–1911, bronze); Nude Woman Standing, Drying Herself (c. 1892, lithograph); Mary Cassat at the Louvre: The Paintings Gallery (c. 1879–1880, etching and aquatint); Illustration for ‘La Famille Cardinal’ (c. 1880–1883, monotype); The Engraver Joseph Tourny (1857, etching); Song of the Scissors (c. 1877–1878, monotype); The Road in the Forest (c. 1890–1893, monotype); Leaving the Bath (1879–1880, drypoint and aquatint); Landscape (1890–1892, monotype); Chanteuse de café (c. 1878, pastel)
Canberra (NG of Australia): Nanny in the Luxembourg Gardens (La nourrice du jardin du Luxembourg) (c. 1875, oil on canvas)
Chicago (AI): The Millinery Shop (Chez la modiste) (1884–1890, oil on canvas); Four Jockeys; Henri de Gas and His Niece Lucy; Ballet Dancers on the Stage; Ballet Dancers in the Wings; Bath; Ballet Dancers in the Studio
Cincinnati (AM): Two Dancers in Pink Standing in the Wings (c. 1879, pastel); Dancer in Her Dressing Room (pastel); Fourth Position Front, on the Left Leg (Position de Quatrième devant sur la jambe gauche) (bronze); The Engraver Joseph Tourny (Portrait du graveur Joseph Tourny) (engraving)
Cleveland (MA): Frieze of Dancers (Danseuses attachant leurs sandales) (1834–1917, oil on canvas); Dancers (Danseuses) (c. 1896, pastel/paper); Stefanina Primicile Carafa, Marchioness of Cicerale and Duchess of Montejasi (c. 1875, oil on fabric); Paul Lafond and Alphonse Cherfils Examining a Painting (c. 1878–1880, oil on wood panel); Mary Cassatt at the Louvre: The Etruscan Gallery (1879–1880, softground etching); Conversation: Ludovic Halévy and Mme Cardinal (for 'La Famille Cardinal’ by Ludovic Halévy) (c. 1880–1883, monotype); In the Salon (c. 1880, monotype); Estérel Village (c. 1890, monotype); Before the Race (pastel); Diego Martelli (1879, charcoal and white chalk)
Columbus, OH (MA): After the Bath (Après le bain) (1899)
Copenhagen (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek): Pink Ballet Dancers; In the Dance Studio; Dancers in Red Strikes (c. 1884, oil on canvas); Dancers, Practicing in the Foyer (presumably the 1880s, oil on canvas); complete set of the bronzes
Denver (AM): Ballet Examination
Detroit (Institute of the Arts): Mademoiselle Malo; Ballet Dancers in the Studio; Ballet Dancers; Ballet Dancer Adjusting Her Costume (1872–1873, charcoal); Dancer Adjusting Her Slipper (1869–1889, charcoal); Dancers in Repose (1898, pastel and charcoal); Dancers in the Green Room (1879, oil on canvas); Femme assise s’appuyant sur le côté gauche (1900–1905, bronze); Schoolgirl (1881–1917, bronze); Spanish Dancer (1900, bronze); Violonist and Young Woman (Violoniste et jeune femme tenant un cahier de musique) (1871, oil and crayon on canvas)
Edinburgh (NG of Scotland): Diego Martelli (1879, oil on canvas, portrait)
Farmington, CT (Hill-Stead Mus.): Jockey (1886, pastel); Dancers in Pink (c. 1876, oil on canvas); The Tub (1886, pastel)
Fort Worth (Kimbell AM): After the Bath, Woman Drying Her Hair (c. 1895, charcoal/tracing paper); Dancer Stretching (c. 1882–1885, pastel/bluish-grey paper)
Frankfurt am Main: Musicians in the Orchestra
Geneva (MAH): Femme à sa toilette (charcoal and pastel)
Glasgow (AG and Mus.): Jockeys in the Rain (pastel); Woman with Umbrella
Hamburg: Madame Gaujelin; Portrait of a Woman; Mademoiselle Dobigny; Before the Mirror; Ballet Scene
Hartford (Wadsworth Atheneum): Double Portrait (The Cousins of the Painter) (oil on canvas); Dancers with Fans (pastel/paper)
Helsinki (Finnish NG)
Indianapolis: Young Woman in Blue
Lausanne (Cantonal MFA): Study of a Dancer (c. 1880); Torso of a Woman (Woman Sponging Her Back) (1896–1911);Laundresses and Horses
Lisbon (Mus. Gulbenkian): Portrait of Henry Michel-Lévy (c. 1878, oil on canvas)
London (Courtauld Institute of Art): Woman at a Window (1871–1872, oil/paper); After the Bath – Woman Drying Herself (c. 1895, pastel/paper); Two Dancers on a Stage (c. 1874, oil on canvas)
London (NG): Young Spartans Exercising (c. 1860, oil on canvas); Beach Scene (1868–1877, oil/paper/canvas); At the Café Châteaudun (c. 1869–1871, oil/paper/card); Head of a Woman (c. 1873, oil/canvas/panel, on loan from the Tate Collection); Head of a Woman (c. 1874, oil on canvas, on loan from the Tate Collection); Portrait of Elena Carafa (c. 1875, oil on canvas); Carlo Pellegrini (c. 1876, oil/paper/card, on loan from the Tate Collection); Promenade Beside the Sea (c. 1860, oil on canvas); Hélène Rouart in Her Father’s Study (c. 1886, oil on canvas); After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself (c. 1888–1892, pastel/paper/cardboard); Ballet Dancers (1890–1900, oil on canvas); Combing the Hair (La Coiffure) (c. 1896, oil on canvas, formerly part of the Matisse collection); Russian Dancers (c. 1899, pastel/tracing paper); Princess Pauline de Metternich (c. 1865, oil on canvas)
London (Tate Collection): Bed-time (c. 1880–1885, pastel and print/paper); Woman at Her Toilet (c. 1894, charcoal and pastel/paper); Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (1880–1881, painted bronze with muslin and silk, cast c. 1922); Steeplechase: Fallen Jockey (1866, reworked at a later date); Degas Waving; Woman in a Tub (c. 1883, pastel/paper); Miss Lala at the Cirque Fernando (1879, pastel/paper); Grande Arabesque (1885–1890, bronze); Horse Clearing an Obstacle (c. 1887–1888, bronze); Dancer at Rest, Her Hands on Her Hips, Right Leg Forward (c. 1890, bronze, cast 1919–1920); Dancer Putting on Her Stocking (c. 1900, bronze, posthumous cast); Dancer Looking at the Sole of Her Right Foot (1910–1911?, bronze, posthumous cast)
London (Victoria and Albert Mus.): The Ballet Scene from Meyerbeer’s Opera ‘Robert Le Diable’ (1876, oil on canvas)
Los Angeles: Two Sisters; Woman in Blue
Los Angeles (Getty Mus.): Waiting, Dancer and Woman with Umbrella (L’Attente) (c. 1882, pastel/paper); After the Bath (Le Bain [Femme vue de dos]) (c. 1895, oil on canvas); Self-portrait (c. 1857–1858, oil on paper); Convalescent (1868, oil on canvas); Waiting (1882, pastel); numerous drawings
Los Angeles (Los Angeles County MA): Actresses in Their Dressing Rooms (1879–1880, etching and aquatint)
Lyons: Café-Concert at Les Ambassadeurs; Three Dancers
Minneapolis (IA): Portrait of Miss Hortense Valpinçon (c. 1869–1871, oil/mattress fabric); Ballet Girl in Repose (c. 1880–1882, charcoal); Portrait of Marguerite Degas (black chalk); Achille Degas (1868–1872, oil wash on parchment, oil, and graphite); Mary Cassatt at the Louvre (1879–1880, etching, drypoint); Leaving the Bath (1879–1880, drypoint, aquatint); Galloping Horse (cast bronze); Picking Apples (c. 1881, bronze); Beside the Sea (1869, pastel); Dancer Putting on Her Stocking (bronze); Woman in a Bathtub (1889 modeled, cast 1920–1921); Portrait of Paul Valpinçon (c. 1855, oil on canvas); The Violonist (c. 1879, charcoal); Nude Woman Standing, Drying Herself (1891–1892, lithograph)
Moscow (Mus. of Western Art): Dancer at the Photographer’s; Racehorses; Ballet Dancers at a Rehearsal; La Toilette; After the Bath; In the Wings
Moscow (Pushkin MFA): Dancer at the Photographer’s (c. 1874)
New Haven: Jockeys
New Orléans (MA): Portrait of Estelle Musson Degas (1872, oil on canvas); Dancer in Green (pastel)
New York (Frick Collection): The Rehearsal (1878–1879, oil on canvas)
New York (Metropolitan MA): Woman Seated Beside a Vase of Flowers (1865, oil on canvas); The Collector of Prints (L’Amateur d’estampes) (1866); Mademoiselle Marie Dihau (1867–1868); James-Jacques-Joseph Tissot (c. 1867–1868); Joseph Henri Altès (1868); Madame Théodore Gobillard (1869); Madame Lisle; Madame Loubens; The Ballet from ‘Robert le Diable’ (1871); The Dancing Class (c. 1871); Madame René de Gas; Sulking (c. 1870s); A Woman Ironing (1873); Woman on a Divan; The Rehearsal of the Ballet Onstage (c. 1874, painting/paper/canvas); Dancers Practicing at the Barre (1877, oil on canvas); Seated Violinist; Ballet; Three Dancers Preparing for Class (after 1878); Ballet Dancers; Ballet Rehearsal; Two Ballet Dancers; At the Milliner’s (1881); At the Milliner’s (1882); Nude Woman; Woman with a Towel (1894); Woman Bathing in a Shallow Tub (1885, pastel); Dancer with a Fan (c. 1880); La Toilette; Portrait of a Young Woman (c. 1885); After the Bath; Dancers in the Rehearsal Room with a Double Bass (c. 1882–1885, oil on canvas); Two Dancers (c. 1879); Ballet Dancer; Woman Bathing; Dancer with a Fan (c. 1890–1895); After the Bath; Russian Dancer (1899); The Bath; The Dance Class (probably 1874, oil on canvas); Woman Combing Her Hair (c. 1888–1889); Three Jockeys (c. 1900); Woman Having Her Hair Combed (c. 1886–1888); Woman Drying Her Arm (late 1880s–early 1890s); Bather Steeping in a Tub (c. 1890); Race Horses (1885–1888); Woman Drying Her Foot (1885–1886); Ballet Girls (1879, fan mount); The Ballet (1879, fan mount); Portraits at the Stock-Exchange (1876, pastel); The Milliner (c. 1882)
New York (MoMA): Three Dancers; At the Milliner’s (c. 1882, pastel); Two Dancers (1905, charcoal and pastel)
Northampton, MA (Smith College MA): René de Gas with Inkwell; Jephtha’s Daughter
Oslo: Young Spartans Exercising; Woman with a Dog; Hair Arranging; Return of the Flocks
Ottawa: Ballet Dancers at the Barre
Paris (Bibliothèque d’Art et d’Archéologie, Fondation Jacques-Doucet): Three Ballet Dancers
Paris (Louvre): Ironing Woman (La repasseuse) (1869, charcoal, chalk, and pastel)
Paris (Mus. d’Orsay): Study for Spanish Dance (Danse espagnole, deuxième étude) (1882–1895, greenish-brown wax sketch, cast 1931); Portrait of Thérèse de Gas (c. 1855–1856, graphite/pink paper); Ballet (c. 1879, gouache/silk, fan); Portrait of Édouard Manet (drawing); Small Island Out at Sea; Portrait de l’artiste, dit Degas au porete-fusain (c. 1858, oil on canvas); Course de gentlemen avant le départ (1862–c. 1882, oil on canvas); Absinthe (Dans un café, dit aussi l’absinthe) (c. 1875–1876, oil on canvas); Danseuses montant un escalier (c. 1886, oil on canvas); Degas and Everiste De Valernes (Degas avec Everiste de Valernes) (c. 1865, oil on canvas); Study of Hands (Etude de mains) (c. 1858, oil on canvas); Woman Washing in the Bathtub (Femme se lavant dans sa baignoire) (c. 1892, pastel); Giovanna Bellelli (c. 1856, oil on canvas); Hilaire René de Gas (1857, oil on canvas); Jantand, Linet, and Lainé (Jantaud, Linet et Laine) (1871, oil on canvas); L’étoile ou danseuse sur la scène (c. 1878, pastel); Orchestra at the Opéra (L’orchestre de l’Opéra, dit aussi Les Musiciens à l’orchestre) (c. 1870, oil on canvas); La classe de danse (c. 1871, pastel); Woman with a Vase (La femme à la potiche) (1872, oil on canvas); Le champ de courses, jockeys amateurs (1876–1887, oil on canvas); Le défilé, dit aussi Chevaux de courses devant les Tribunes (c. 1866–1888); Le foyer de la danse à l’Opéra (1872, oil on canvas); The Pedicure (Le pédicure) (1873, painting); The Tub (Le tub) (1886, pastel on card); The Cellist Pillet (Le violoncelliste Pillet) (c. 1868–1869, oil on canvas); Women Ironing (Les repasseuses) (c. 1884–1886, oil on canvas); Lorenzo Pagans et Auguste de Gas (c. 1871–1872, oil on canvas); Mlle Dihau at the Piano (Mademoiselle Dihau au piano) (c. 1869–1872, oil on canvas); Semiramis Building Babylon (1861, oil on canvas); Marguerite de Gas (head) (c. 1858–1860); Marguerite de Gas (half-body) (c. 1858–1860, oil on canvas); The Belleli Family (Portrait de famille, dit aussi La famille Bellelli) (c. 1858, oil on canvas); Portrait at the Stock Exchange (Portrait à la Bourse) (c. 1878, oil on canvas); Répétition d’un ballet sur la scène (1874, oil on canvas); Battle in the Middle Ages (Scène de guerre au Moyen-Age, dit à tort Les Malheurs de la ville d’Orléans) (c. 1865); Semiramis Founding a Town (Sémiramis construisant Babylone) (c. 1860, oil on canvas); Thérèse de Gas (c. 1863, oil on canvas); Horse at the Drinking Trough (Cheval à l’abreuvoir) (1865–1881, lost-wax brown-patinated bronze); Horse Galloping Leading with the Right Leg (Cheval au galop sur le pied droit) (1865–1881, lost-wax brown-patinated bronze, cast 1931); Walking Horse Raising Its Legs (Cheval marchant au pas relevé) (1865–1881, brown-patinated bronze, cast 1931); Danse espagnole, première étude (1866–1911, black-patinated bronze, cast 1913); Danseuse, position de quatrième devant sur la jambe gauche (three studies); Femme assise s’essuyant la nuque (1896–1911, bronze, cast 1931); Femme sortant du bain (1896–1911, cast 1931)
Paris (Mus. Gustave-Moreau): Gustave Moreau
Edgar Degas pencil drawings
Pasadena (Norton Simon Mus.): important collection of bronzes, including Arabesque Over the Right Leg, Left Arm in Line (c. 1885, bronze);
Arabesque Over the Right Leg, Right Hand Near the Ground, Left Arm Outstretched (c. 1885, bronze);
Actress in Her Dressing Room (c. 1879, oil on canvas); After the Bath (c. 1890–1893, pastel on paper); Arabesque Over the Right Leg, Left Arm in Front (c. 1878, bronze); Autumn Landscape: L’Esterel (1890, monotype); Bow (1896–1891, bronze); Café-Concert Singer (c. 1879, lithograph); Café-Concert Singer (c. 1879, pastel); Dancer (Battement in Second Position) (1874, charcoal); Dancers in Pink (c. 1883, pastel on cardboard); Dancers in the Rotunda at the Paris Opera (1895, oil on canvas); Dancers in the Wings (1880, pastel and tempera on paper); Dancers on the Stage (1879, pastel, fan); Olive Trees Against a Mountainous Background (1892, pastel); Portrait of Madame Dietz-Monnin (1879, pastel); The Laundress (1873, oil on canvas); The Rape of the Sabines (after Poussin) (1861–1862, oil on canvas); The Star: Dancing on Pointe (c. 1878, gouache and pastel on paper); Waiting (1880–1882, pastel); Wheat Field and Green Hill (pastel over monotype); Woman Combing Her Hair Before a Mirror (c. 1877, oil on canvas); Woman Drying Her Hair (c. 1905, pastel); Women Ironing (c. 1884, oil on canvas)
Pau: Cotton Exchange in New Orleans (1873, oil on canvas); Woman Getting out of a Bath
Philadelphia (MA): After the Bath (Après le bain); Interior (c. 1874, oil on canvas); Dancing Lesson (1881)
Pittsburgh (Carnegie MA): Henri Rouart in Front of His Factory (c. 1875, oil on canvas)
Portland, ME (MA): The Dancing Lesson (La Leçon de danse) (c. 1877, pastel/monotype/paper)
Portland, OR: Dancer Adjusting Her Dress
Providence: Jockey; La Savoisienne; Ballet; W. Sickert, Daniel Halévy, Ludovic Halévy, Jacques Blanche, Gervex and Boulanger-Cavé; Start of a Race; Dancer Adjusting Her Dress; Ballet Dancer
Richmond (Virginia MFA): Racecourse: Before the Start (c. 1880, oil on canvas); Dressed Dancer at Rest, Hands Behind Her Back, Light Leg Forward (c. 1885, wax with cork); Horse Walking (c. 1866–1868, bronze, cast 1919–1921)
Rome (Gal. Nazionale d’Arte Moderna): After the Bath (Dopo il bagno) (1886)
Rotterdam (Mus. Boijmans Van Beuningen): Fourteen Year Old Ballet Girl (1880–1881)
San Francisco (FAM): many works
São Paulo (MA): After the Bath (Après le bain) (oil on canvas); 73 bronzes
Springfield, MA (MFA): Rehearsal before the Ballet (Répétition avant le ballet) (1976–1877)
St Louis (AM): Dante and Virgil; Ballet Dancers in the Wings (Danseuses dans les coulisses)
St Petersburg (Hermitage Mus.): Viscount Lepic and His Daughters Crossing the Place de la Concorde (1875, oil on canvas); The Dancer (1874, oil on canvas); Two Dancers (1898–1899, charcoal and pastel); After the Bath (c. 1895, pastel, gouache, tempera, and charcoal)
Stockholm: Lady in Black; Three Russian Dancers; Two Dancers
Edgar Degas pencil drawings
Toledo: Ballet Dancers
Tours: Christ Between the Two Thieves
Vienna (Österreichische Gal. Belvedere): Rocky Coast
Washington, DC (Corcoran Gal. of Art): Cabaret; Dance Class (Ecole de Danse) (c. 1873, oil on canvas)
Washington, DC (Dumbarton Oaks Research Library): Giulia Bellelli, Study for ‘The Bellelli Family’ (1858–1859, essence on paper on panel); The Song Rehearsal (1872–1873, oil on canvas)
Washington, DC (Hirshhorn Mus. and Sculpture Garden): 15 bronze sculptures
Washington, DC (NGA): Before the Race; Dancer Seen from Behind and Three Studies of Feet (c. 1878, black chalk and gouache over monotype); Ballet Studio; Achille de Gas in the Uniform of a Cadet (1856–1857, oil on canvas); Alexander and Bucephalus (1861–1862, oil on canvas); Before the Ballet (1890–1892, oil on canvas); The Dance Lesson (c. 1879, oil on canvas); Dancers Backstage (1876–1883, oil on canvas); Edmondo and Thérèse Morbilli (c. 1865, oil on canvas); Four Dancers (c. 1899, oil on canvas); Girl in Red (c. 1866, oil on canvas); Horses in a Meadow (1871, oil on canvas); The Loge (c. 1883, oil on wood); Madame Camus (c. 1869–1870, oil on canvas); Madame René de Gas (1872–1873, oil on canvas); Mademoiselle Malo (c. 1877, oil on canvas); The Races (1871–1872); René de Gas (1855, oil on canvas); Scene from the Steeplechase: The Fallen Jockey (1866, oil on canvas, reworked 1880–1881 and c.1887); Self-portrait with White Collar (c. 1875, oil on paper); Women Ironing (c. 1876–c. 1887, oil on canvas); Woman Viewed from Behind (oil on canvas); Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen (1881, wax original); numerous drawings, prints, and sculptures
Washington, DC (Phillips Collection): Melancholy; Women Combing Their Hair (1875); Ballet Dancer at the Barre; Ballet Studio
Williamstown (Francine Clark Art Institute): The Entrance of the Masked Dancers (c. 1884, pastel); Three Ballet Dancers (c. 1878–1880, monotype); Self-portrait (c. 1857–1858, oil on paper mounted on canvas)
Worcester, MA (AM): Mary Cassatt at the Louvre (1879–1880, etching)
Edgar Degas Paintings
More on Impressionist Paintings.