Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)
Bronze, number 51/A
16 7/8 x 8 3/4 x 10 in. (42.9 x 22.2 x 25.4 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.392)
The skirt of the original sculpture is constructed of light-reflecting wax and bits of cork, evidently an attempt to create the sculptural equivalent of dancers in similar poses that are the subject of some of Degas' most colorful pastels. One of these, Two Dancers in Green Skirts, has been dated to about 189499 on the basis of stylistic considerations. This figure belongs to a series of sculptures of which two others and a related fourth are preserved in bronze. Two are similar to this one except that they are nude and display much more detailed modeling of the faces and feet. Their existence strengthens the supposition that in this figure Degas' interest was not in the anatomical details, but in the skirt.