- Edgar Degas
- Femme se peignant
- Signed Degas (lower left)
- Pastel on paper
- 19 1/2 by 15 in.
- 49 by 38 cm
King Alexander of Serbia
Queen Nathalie of Serbia
Bogdan Popovic, Belgrade (acquired circa 1903)
Marlborough Fine Art, London
Sale: Sotheby's London, June 30, 1987, lot 39
Private Collection (aquired from the above)
Sale: Sotheby's, New York, November 16, 1989, lot 109
Private Collection, Japan (acquired at the above sale)
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Yokohama Museum of Art, Degas, 2010, no. 74, illustrated in the catalogue
Franco Russoli & Fiorella Minervino, L'Opera Completa di Degas, Milan, 1970, no. 954, illustrated
Robert Gordon and Andrew Forge have written the following about these pastels: "By far the greatest number of the bathers are seen from behind, and the face is concealed or turned away in those that are not... The dominant theme is the back: the body seen at its furthest removed from reciprocal address. As the subject of the bathers continues even the notion of the keyhole falls away, and Degas crosses the threshold to a point far beyond ironic audiencehood. The great series of torsos of [...] women who dry themselves are viewed from close up, no longer spied out from a distance. Closer by far to sculpture than to illustration, their backs occupy the center of the picture and impart a corporeal wholeness to its entire surface" (Robert Gordon & Andrew Forge, Degas, New York, 1988, p. 240).
The first owner of this pastel was Milan Obrenovic, the King of Serbia, who acquired the work while he was living in exile in Paris between 1889-92 with the help of the advisor, Isaac de Camondo. It remained in the Serbian royal family until it was given as payment to Bogdan Popovic, a member of the national commission who conducted an inventory of the royal collection.