- Edgar Degas
Danseuse à l'eventail
- Stamped with the signature (lower left; Lugt no. 658); stamped with the atelier mark (Lugt no. 657) on the reverse
- Pastel on paper
Estate of the artist (sold: 2ème vente atelier Edgar Degas, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, December 13-11, 1918, no. 97)
Ambroise Vollard, Paris (acquired at the above sale)
Galerie O'Hana, Casablanca (by 1937)
Schoenman Galleries Inc., New York
Private Colection (sold: Sotheby's, London, February 4, 2003, lot 4)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti; Edinburgh, Royal Scottish Academy, Degas e gli Italiani a Parigi, 2003-04, no. 45
Rome, Complesso del Vittoriano, Degas Classico e Moderno, 2004-05, no. 45
Franco Russoli & Fiorella Minervino, L'Opera completa di Degas, 1970, no. 1071, p. 134
Paul-André Lemoisne, Degas et son Oeuvre, vol. III, New York and London, 1984, no. 1156, illustrated p. 673
By the mid-1890s, no other subject figures as prominently in Degas's oeuvre as the ballerina, whose lithe body and theatrical gestures fascinated the artist throughout his long career. Images of dancers nearly overwhelmed his production towards the end of his life, as he constantly experimented with rendering these young women in various media including oil, pastel and photography. Degas would often meet his models backstage after the ballet, sketching them while they stretched, relaxed or collapsed with exhaustion from their performance. In his later years, he would invite some of the lesser-known dancers to his studio, making them pose for long periods of time and sometimes repositioning them to suit the eccentricities of his compositions. In the present work, completed around 1894 according to Lemoisne, he rendered a dancer holding a fan, her hand lifted to her forehead and head tilted backwards in order to heighten the dramatic effect of the image.
In his unpublished analysis of this work, Richard Kendall wrote the following with regard to its color palette: "A pronounced feature of Danseuse à la éventail is the prevalence of sombre greens, contrasted with the hotter red of the bodice and the warm purple outlines. Implicitly anti-naturalistic, this green-red juxtaposition is commonly found in Degas' paintings and pastels of the 1890s, when he revived his interest in Renaissance coloured underpainting. It is also characteristic of many of the oil paintings he reworked in this later period, such as the Yale Ballet Rehearsal (L. 1107). The unusual colour combinations does not seem to appear in his work before this date" (Richard Kendall, unpublished analysis of Danseuse à la éventail, January 2006).