Danseuse á La Barre (Dancer At The Bar)

Edgar Hilaire Germain Degas

French, 1834 - 1917

Danseuse á la barre (Dancer at the bar), ca. 1885

  • Not On View

Charcoal and pastel on paper

Dimensions: 9 × 12 1/4 in. (22.9 × 31.1 cm)

Gift of The Whiting Foundation in memory of Alice D. Johnson, 1988.1

Edgar Degas helped organize the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874, and participated in most of their exhibitions until 1886. For Degas, who loved both contemporary life and the performing arts, the dancers and actors of the theater were favorite subjects. He often invited them to his studio in order to sketch, paint, and sculpt them as they stretched, practiced, and danced. Later in his career, he was allowed backstage to sketch rehearsals and performances. Degas enjoyed drawing their movements, colorful costumes, the sets, and the effects of the stage lights.In contrast to his Impressionist colleagues, who studied the effects of natural light within a landscape, Degas preferred artificial light, and focused on drawing and composition. In this drawing, we see the artist work and rework the dancer’s left leg, perhaps reflecting his interest in Eadweard Muybridge’s famed stop-action photographic studies that recorded successive phases of continuous motion in humans and animals.

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