Lot 7
  • 7

Edgar Degas

600,000 - 800,000 USD
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  • Edgar Degas
  • Grande arabesque, troisième temps
  • Inscribed Degas, stamped with the foundry mark cire perdue/A.A. Hébrard, Paris and numbered 16/J
  • Bronze
  • Height: 15 1/8 in.
  • 38.4 cm


Sasha Guitry, Paris (February 23, 1924 and until at least 1952)

Wertheimer, Paris

Fine Arts Associates (Otto M. Gerson), New York (acquired from the above in 1958)

Leo M. Rogers, New York (acquired from the above by 1958 and sold: Christie's, London, June 27, 1972, lot 119)

Spencer Samuels, New York (acquired at the above sale)

Fletcher Jones, California (sold: Christie's, London, December 2, 1975, lot 42)

Stephen Hahn Gallery, New York (acquired at the above sale)

Mr. and Mrs. Nathan L. Halpern, New York (acquired from the above, March 1976)

Private Collection (by descent from the above and sold: Christie's, New York, November 3, 2004, lot 6)

Private Collection (acquired at the above sale and sold: Christie's, New York, November 3, 2009, lot 20)

Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


New York, Charles E. Slatkin Galleries, Renoir, Degas, a loan exhibition of drawings, pastels, sculptures, 1958, no. 24, illustrated in the catalogue


John Rewald, Degas: Works in Sculpture, A Complete Catalogue, New York, 1944, no. XL, illustration of another cast p. 95

Lillian Browse, Degas Dancers, London, 1949, no. 155, illustration of another cast 

John Rewald & Leonard von Matt, L'Oeuvre Sculpté de Degas, Zurich, 1957, no. XL, illustration of another cast pl. 33

Pierre Cabanne, Edgar Degas, Paris, 1959, illustration of another cast pl. IX

Franco Russoli & Fiorella Minervino, L'Opera Completa di Degas, Milan, 1970, no. S8, illustration of another cast p. 140 

C.W. Millard, The Sculpture of Edgar Degas, Princeton, 1976, no. 91, illustration of another cast 

Robert Gordon & Andrew Forge, Degas, New York, 1988, illustration of another cast p. 208

John Rewald, Degas's Complete Sculpture: Catalogue Raisonné, San Francisco, 1990, no. XL, illustration of original wax model p. 118 and illustration of another cast p. 119

Anne Pingeot, Degas Sculptures, Paris, 1991, no. 7, illustration of another cast pp. 68-71 and pp. 155-56

Sara Campbell, "A Catalogue of Degas' Bronzes," Apollo, New York, August 1995, no. 16, illustration of another cast p. 18

Joseph S. Czestochowski & Anne Pingeot, Degas Sculptures, Catalogue Raisonné of the Bronzes, Memphis, 2002, no. 16, illustration of another cast in color p. 152

Sara Campbell, Richard Kendall, Daphne Barbour & Shelley Sturman, Degas in the Norton Simon Museum, Nineteenth-Century Art, Vol. II, Pasadena, 2009, no. 68, catalogued p. 514

Catalogue Note

Degas experimented with rendering the form of the dancer in various poses.  By and large, the three-dimensional medium of sculpture offered him the most possibilities for capturing the grace and beauty of these figures and for exploring the seemingly boundless flexibility of their bodies.  For the present work, the artist has rendered the dancer posing with her left leg extended backwards and at a oblique angle to the ground and her right arm extending forwards, counterbalancing her weight.  This position, known as an arabesque, is one of the most animated poses of the ballet, and was commonly depicted in Degas' paintings, drawings and pastels, in addition to several sculptural renderings.  The present sculpture is the final of three related versions of this subject and one of his most expressive figural compositions.  It has also been referenced by its varient titles, Arabesque penchée and Danseuse, Grande arabesque, Troisième temps (première étude).

Jill De Vonyar and Richard Kendall have written about the significance of the arabesque in 19th century classical dance and the formal complexity that it offered the sculptor: "An unpublished treatise written between 1868 and 1871 by the Opéra instructor Léopold Adice, Grammaire et Théorie choréographique..., makes it clear that the bent knee was actively promoted.  Adice's manuscript was extensively illustrated by himself, and as Sandra Noll Hammond has noted, in his drawings of high arabesques, 'the raised leg is always shown as though with a slightly relaxed knee.'  In this context, we should note that Degas' sensitively modeled, lyrical figure is represented in the nude, allowing him to give full articulation to the currently preferred pose and, incidentally, to reveal the true shape of his uncorseted model" (Jill De Vonyar and Richard Kendall, Degas and the Dance (exhibition catalogue), The Detroit Institute of Arts; The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2002-03, p. 153).