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In Pursuit of Light and Leisure

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Dancers

ca. 1900
37 5/8 x 26 3/4 in. (95.6 x 67.9 cm)

Edgar Degas
French (1834 - 1917)

Object Type: Drawing
Medium and Support: Pastel and charcoal on tracing paper, mounted on wove paper, mounted on board
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Charles H. Babcock
Accession Number: 1931.21
Link to this object
Location: Not currently on view

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]

Provenance
Edgar Degas; sold in the first Degas atelier sale, May 6-8, 1918, lot 296; Ambroise Vollard (dealer); Durand-Ruel (dealers), Paris; purchased by the Gallery in 1931

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Web Links See links to web pages and lesson plans
Family Guide: Edgar Degas: Figures in Motion Family Guide to accompany MAG's exhibition Edgar Degas: Figures in Motion, October 13, 2002—January 5, 2003. Includes at-home activities for children.
It Came from the Vault exhibition catalogue Entry for this artwork in the It Came from the Vault exhibition catalogue. The exhibition ran from March 17-June 9, 2013


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