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About the Object
When asked by Mrs. Horace Havemeyer, an American collector, why he so often portrayed dancers, Degas replied “Because I find there, Madame, the combined movements of the Greeks.”
This pastel was produced late in the artist’s life when his eyesight had begun to fail. It is possible that his diminished vision resulted in the heavy contours that surround the dancers and give only the barest suggestion of their facial features. Rather than attempting great detail, he concentrated on mapping out the unpredictable effects of theatrical lighting on the forms of the figures.
[Label text from It Came From the Vault exhibition, 2013]