Artist: Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris)
Date: ca. 1870
Medium: Oil on wood
Dimensions: 7 3/4 x 10 5/8 in. (19.7 x 27 cm)
Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number: 29.100.184
This is Degas's first depiction of a dance class. Because the artist did not yet have privileges to go backstage at the Paris Opéra, his subjects came to his studio to pose. These sessions yielded many large study drawings, which Degas subsequently adapted for other compositions. In the late 1870s, he explained, "I have painted so many of these dance examinations without having seen them that I am a little ashamed of it."