Lot 9
  • 9

Edgar Degas

70,000 - 100,000 EUR
607,500 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Edgar Degas
  • Sémiramis construisant une ville
  • stamped with the signature Degas (lower right); stamped with the studio mark (on the stretcher)
  • peinture à l'essence on canvas


Sale: Atelier Edgar Degas, 1st sale Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 6-7 and 8 May 1918, no. 21, illustrated p. 15
Henri Fèvre, Monte-Carlo (and sold: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, Tableaux et pastels. Dessins et estampes par Degas. Tableaux modernes, 22nd June 1925, lot 63)
Fiquet, Paris
André & Olga Wormser, Paris
Thence by descent to the present owner


Paris, Galerie Schmit, Exposition Degas 1834-1917, 1975, no. 5


Paul-André Lemoisne, Degas et son œuvre, vol. II, Paris, 1946, no. 83, illustrated p. 45

Catalogue Note

This work, painted in monochrome, is a study for the famous painting Sémiramis construisant Babylone 1860-62, today kept in the collections of the Musée d’Orsay (fig.). The Assyrian queen is depicted standing on the banks of the Euphrates river, watching the building of the mythical city of Babylon. Degas based this large format painting on Assyrian archaeological sources he had seen at the Louvre. He produced several preparatory drawings as well as four preparatory oil works. It is interesting to see how the final painting differs from its studies, in particular in the composition of the group of figures. Stylistically, this sketch demonstrates Degas’s academic aptitude, typical of his early works and his skill as a draughtsman, learnt from Ingres whom he met in 1855. His attention to the horse is noteworthy, as it is a subject he was to return to with brio in his famous representations of horse races.