Artist: Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris)
Date: ca. 1882–85
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 15 3/8 x 35 1/4 in. (39.1 x 89.5 cm)
Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number: 29.100.127
Degas used an elongated frieze format for more than forty rehearsal scenes made over the course of two decades. This is one of the first such works; it was preceded by The Dance Lesson (ca. 1879, National Gallery of Art, Washington). Here, the angled wall in the foreground sets off the striking juxtaposition of a double bass and a seated dancer, bent over to tie the laces of her slipper. Technical analysis reveals that Degas painted the complex composition in virtually a single campaign with only minor revisions.