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Dancers, Pink and Green

Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris)

Date:
ca. 1890
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
32 3/8 x 29 3/4 in. (82.2 x 75.6 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number:
29.100.42
  • Gallery Label

    The heavily impastoed surface suggests that Degas worked directly and extensively on this picture, building up passages of color with brushes and his fingers. By mixing his colors with white to make them opaque, and by applying his pigments thickly and in several layers, he approximated the pastel technique that he had perfected in the 1880s. Degas punctuated the composition with the shadowy profile of a top-hatted patron of the Opéra, who enjoys the privilege of dallying with the dancers in the wings during a performance.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed (lower right): Degas

  • Provenance

    Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (by 1917–d. 1929; deposited with Durand-Ruel, New York, January 8–December 21, 1917, deposit no. 7844; cat., 1931, p. 118, ill.)

  • Exhibition History

    New York. Durand-Ruel. "Loan Exhibition of French Masterpieces of the Late XIX Century," March 20–April 10, 1928, no. 7 (as "Danseuses en jupes roses et vertes," lent anonymously).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 10–November 2, 1930, no. 55 (as "Pink and Green") [2nd ed., 1958, no. 104, as "Dancers, Pink and Green"].

    Hempstead, N.Y. Hofstra College. "Metropolitan Museum Masterpieces," June 26–September 1, 1952, no. 35 (as "Pink and Green").

    West Palm Beach, Fla. Norton Gallery and School of Art. "French Painting—David to Cézanne," February 4–March 1, 1953, no. 15 (as "Pink and Green").

    Coral Gables, Fla. Lowe Gallery. "French Painting—David to Cézanne," March 11–31, 1953, no. 15.

    Old Westbury, N.Y. Fourth Annual North Shore Arts Festival. "Art of the Dance," May 13–22, 1960, no catalogue?

    Tokyo National Museum. "Treasured Masterpieces of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," August 10–October 1, 1972, no. 97.

    Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "Treasured Masterpieces of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 8–November 26, 1972, no. 97.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Impressionism: A Centenary Exhibition," December 12, 1974–February 10, 1975, not in catalogue.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Degas in the Metropolitan," February 26–September 4, 1977, no. 18 (of paintings).

    Richmond. Virginia Museum. "Degas," May 23–July 9, 1978, no. 18.

    New York. Acquavella Galleries. "Edgar Degas," November 1–December 3, 1978, no. 45.

    Naples. Museo di Capodimonte. "Capolavori Impressionisti dei Musei Americani," December 3, 1986–February 1, 1987, no. 17.

    Milan. Pinacoteca di Brera. "Capolavori Impressionisti dei Musei Americani," March 4–May 10, 1987, no. 17.

    Paris. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. "Degas," February 9–May 16, 1988, no. 293.

    Ottawa. National Gallery of Canada. "Degas," June 16–August 28, 1988, no. 293.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Degas," September 27, 1988–January 8, 1989, no. 293.

    Yokohama Museum of Art. "Treasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: French Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century," March 25–June 4, 1989, no. 90.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A252.

    Dayton Art Institute. "Edgar Degas: The Many Dimensions of a Master French Impressionist," August 13–October 9, 1994, no. 96.

    London. National Gallery. "Degas, Beyond Impressionism," May 22–August 26, 1996, no. 31.

    Art Institute of Chicago. "Degas, Beyond Impressionism," September 28, 1996–January 5, 1997, no. 31.

    Paris. Musée d'Orsay. "La collection Havemeyer: Quand l'Amérique découvrait l'impressionnisme...," October 20, 1997–January 18, 1998, no. 1.

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "The Artist and the Camera: Degas to Picasso," October 2, 1999–January 4, 2000, no. 20.

    Dallas Museum of Art. "The Artist and the Camera: Degas to Picasso," February 1–May 7, 2000, no. 20.

    Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. "Edgar Degas: Figures in Motion," October 13, 2002–January 5, 2003, no catalogue.

    Rome. Complesso del Vittoriano. "Degas: Classico e moderno," October 1, 2004–February 1, 2005, no. 71.

    Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 70.

    Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19.Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.

    Canberra. National Gallery of Australia. "Degas: Master of French Art," December 12, 2008–March 22, 2009, no. 75.

    Fondation Beyeler. "Edgar Degas. Das Spätwerk," September 30, 2012–January 27, 2013, unnumbered cat. (ill. p. 65).

  • References

    "Havemeyer Collection at Metropolitan Museum: Havemeyers Paid Small Sums for Masterpieces." Art News 28 (March 15, 1930), ill. p. 40, as "Pink and Green".

    H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, p. 118, ill., as "Pink and Green".

    P[aul]. A[ndré]. Lemoisne. Degas et son œuvre. [reprint 1984]. Paris, [1946–49], vol. 3, pp. 590–91, no. 1013, ill., calls it "Danseuses (Pink and Green)" and dates it 1890; calls "Dancers in Blue" (Musée d'Orsay, Paris; L1014) a replica of our painting.

    Lillian Browse. Degas Dancers. New York, [1949], p. 396, pl. 180, dates it about 1885–87.

    Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), p. 7, as "Pink and Green".

    Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York, 1961, p. 259, remarks that "it is so transparent that many have mistaken it for a pastel".

    Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX–XX Centuries." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 3, New York, 1967, pp. 85–86, ill., observe that the handling of color in this painting reflects Degas's experiments with pastel.

    Fiorella Minervino in L'opera completa di Degas. Milan, 1970, p. 125, no. 855, ill., dates it about 1890.

    René Huyghe Lydie Huyghe in La Relève du réel: la peinture française au XIXe siècle: impressionnisme, symbolisme. Paris, 1974, colorpl. 9.

    Bernard Dunstan. Painting Methods of the Impressionists. New York, 1976, ill. p. 80.

    The Armand Hammer Collection. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre, Cabinet des Dessins, Paris and Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris. [Los Angeles], [1977], unpaginated, under no. 42.

    Janet F. Buerger. "Degas' Solarized and Negative Photographs: A Look at Unorthodox Classicism." Image 21 (June 1978), p. 21, dates it about 1890; relates the second figure from the right with a photograph of a dancer attributed to Degas (before 1881 or even before 1873; Degas files, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris).

    Bernard Dunstan. "Looking at Paintings." American Artist 42 (April 1978), pp. 66–67, ill. (color and black and white).

    Theodore Reff. "Edgar Degas and the Dance." Arts Magazine 53 (November 1978), pp. 145, 147, fig. 2, notes the influence of Delacroix in Degas's late dance pictures; cites this painting as an example of Degas's combination of an "insider's view of the reality behind the theatrical illusion with his own disillusioned brand of urban realism".

    Theodore Reff. "Degas and the Dance." Edgar Degas. Exh. cat., Acquavella Galleries. New York, 1978, unpaginated, no. 45, ill. (color), [reprints Ref. Reff. 1978, Arts Magazine].

    Charles S. Moffett. Degas: Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1979, pp. 12–13, colorpl. 26, dates it about 1890; notes that no known studies exist for it or "Dancers in Blue" (Orsay) so that "they appear to be no more than different versions, complete in themselves. One neither improves upon the other nor represents any kind of advance...".

    Keith Roberts. Degas. rev., enl. ed. [1st ed., 1976]. Oxford, 1982, unpaginated, under no. 46.

    Roy McMullen. Degas: His Life, Times, and Work. Boston, 1984, p. 417.

    Charles S. Moffett. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 82, 251, ill. p. 83 (color), dates it about 1880 [typographical error for "about 1890"].

    Denys Sutton. Edgar Degas: Life and Work. New York, 1986, colorpl. 186.

    Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, p. 255.

    Gary Tinterow et al. Capolavori impressionisti dei musei americani. Exh. cat., Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. Milan, 1987, p. 44, no. 17, ill. p. 45 (color).

    Gary Tinterow in Degas. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. New York, 1988, pp. 369, 475–77, 570, no. 293, ill. (color), discusses the development of this composition from several paintings of the 1870s as well as "Dancers in the Wings" (about 1890; L880; location unknown); cites one drawing as a study for the dancer at left (private collection, New York); states that x-rays indicate it was not reworked, but was probably executed "during one period of work, presumably sometime about 1890"; remarks that "Dancers in Blue" (Orsay) is clearly based on this picture.

    Denys Sutton in Treasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: French Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. Exh. cat., Yokohama Museum of Art. [Tokyo?], 1989, p. 25.

    Gary Tinterow in Treasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: French Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. Exh. cat., Yokohama Museum of Art. [Tokyo?], 1989, pp. 143–44, no. 90, ill. (color).

    Richard Kendall. "Signs and Non-Signs: Degas' Changing Strategies of Representation." Dealing with Degas: Representations of Women and the Politics of Vision. London, 1992, p. 199 n. 13, calls it an exception to the disappearance of the male onlooker in Degas's late dance pictures.

    Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. 3rd ed. [1st ed. 1930, repr. 1961]. New York, 1993, pp. 257, 259, 337 n. 376, p. 338 n. 386.

    Gretchen Wold in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 337–38, no. A252, ill. p. 334, colorpl. 49.

    Richard Kendall. Degas, Beyond Impressionism. Exh. cat., National Gallery. London, 1996, pp. 118, 122–23, 142, 164, 188, 256, 299, 311 n. 216, no. 31, figs. 132–34 (x-ray overall and color details), ill. p. 210 (color), dates it about 1885–95, based on x-rays showing "several inconsistencies of handling and detailed adjustments"; remarks that it was apparently repainted in the early 1890s with "clamorous peppermints and notes of scarlet [that] perfectly encapsulate Degas's new chromaticism"; notes that the male figure in this picture is perhaps the last of this type, since men no longer appear in the artist's ballet and nude compositions after about 1890; comments on the similarity of the figures in "Dancers in Blue" (Orsay).

    Mari Kálmán Meller. "Late Degas. London and Chicago." Burlington Magazine 138 (September 1996), p. 616.

    Elizabeth C. Childs in Dorothy Kosinski. The Artist and the Camera. Exh. cat., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Dallas, 1999, pp. 86, 310, no. 20, ill. p. 84 (color).

    Ann Dumas in Joseph S. Czestochowski and Anne Pingeot. Degas Sculptures: Catalogue Raisonné of the Bronzes. Memphis, 2002, p. 44, fig. 7, dates it about 1885–95 and identifies the pose of one of the dancers as similar to Degas's sculpture, "Dancer at Rest, Hands Behind Her Back, Right Leg Forward".

    Maria Teresa Benedetti in Degas: Classico e moderno. Exh. cat., Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome. Milan, 2004, pp. 33, 296–97, no. 71, ill. pp. 18 (detail), 297 (color overall).

    Charles Harrison. Painting the Difference: Sex and Spectator in Modern Art. Chicago, 2005, p. 269 n. 29, cites it as an example of a shift in Degas's work from the "representation of public circumstances to the picturing of private moments, unselfconscious states, and unobserved actions".

    Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 115, 244, no. 104, ill. (color and black and white).

    Gary Tinterow in The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 102–3, 210–11, no. 70, ill. (overall and detail, color and black and white).

    Richard Kendall in Annette Dixon. The Dancer: Degas, Forain, Toulouse-Lautrec. Exh. cat., Portland Art Museum. Portland, Oreg., 2008, p. 53 n. 17, dates it about 1885–95.

    Jane Kinsman. Degas: The Uncontested Master. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Australia. Canberra, 2008, p. 162, no. 75, ill. pp. 110, 163 (color, overall and detail).



  • Notes

    X-rays taken in 1987 reveal that the line of the stage flat on the right originally extended farther to the left, and that Degas must have added the figure of the male onlooker after changing its position.

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