Edgar Degas (French, 18341917)
Bronze, number 40/A; 18 1/4 x 9 5/8 x 6 3/4 in. (46.4 x 24.4 x 17.1 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.377)
The model for this bronze, traditionally called Dancer Looking at the Sole of Her Right Foot (fourth state), was a plaster cast of an earlier sculpture probably modeled in wax. The plaster cast is known to have been made by the founder Adrien Hébrard about 1900. The figure is one of four in a series of surviving figureseach in a slightly different position but all doing the same thingthat exemplify Degas' fascination with subtle changes in the dynamics of movement. This one was long thought to be the final one in the series owing to its relatively finished surface, but one of Degas' models asserted that in 1910 she was asked by the artist to assume the difficult pose of the plaster cast while he modeled another small figure. So it seems that, in fact, the less finished versions are likely to be the later ones.