166
166

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Edgar Degas
DANSEUSE, POSITION DE QUATRIÈME DEVANT SUR LA JAMBE GAUCHE
Estimate
250,000350,000
LOT SOLD. 325,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
166

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Edgar Degas
DANSEUSE, POSITION DE QUATRIÈME DEVANT SUR LA JAMBE GAUCHE
Estimate
250,000350,000
LOT SOLD. 325,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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London

Edgar Degas
1834 - 1917
DANSEUSE, POSITION DE QUATRIÈME DEVANT SUR LA JAMBE GAUCHE
stamped Degas, numbered 6/K and stamped with the foundry mark A. A. Hébrard cire perdue
bronze
height: 41cm., 16 1/4 in.
Conceived between circa 1883 and 1911 and cast in bronze by the A.A. Hébrard Foundry, Paris from 1919, in a numbered edition of 22 numbered A to T plus two casts inscribed HER and HER.D. This example probably cast at a later date.
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Provenance

Sale: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 15th April 1988, lot 43
Sale: Sotheby's, London, 28th June 1988, lot 2
Browse & Darby Ltd., London (purchased at the above sale)
Private Collection, United Kingdom (sale: Sotheby's, London, 30th November 1993, lot 40)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Literature

John Rewald, Degas Sculpture, London, 1957, no. LV, illustration of another cast p. 148
The Complete Sculptures of Degas (exhibition catalogue), The Lefevre Gallery, London, 1976, no. 9, illustration of another cast p. 28
Gary Tinterow, 'Degas, les Années 1880 le synthèse et l'evolution' in Degas (exhibition catalogue), Grand Palais, Paris, 1988, pp. 473-74, no. 290 & 291, illustrations of the wax model and of another bronze cast
John Rewald, Degas's Complete Sculpture: Catalogue Raisonné, San Francisco, 1990, no. LV, illustration of another cast p. 148
Anne Pingeot & Frank Horvat, Degas sculptures, Paris, 1991, no. 9, illustration of wax cast pp. 54 & 55
Sara Campbell, 'Degas, The sculptures, A Catalogue Raisonné', in Apollo, London, August 1995, no. 6, illustration of another cast p. 14 (titled Fourth position front, on the left leg)
Joseph S. Czestochowski & Anne Pingeot, Degas Sculptures, Catalogue Raisonné of the Bronzes, Memphis, 2002, no. 6. illustration of another cast pp. 132-133 (titled Dancer, Fourth Position Front, on Left Leg)
Edgar Degas, The Late Work (exhibition catalogue), Foundation Beyeler, Basel, 2012, n.n., illustration of another cast p. 59 (dated 1885-90)

Catalogue Note

Harmoniously balanced and gracefully poised, Danseuse, position de quatrième devant sur la jambe gauche is a masterfully constructed bronze that epitomises Degas’ engagement with every muscle and sinew of his dancers, capturing their elegant flexibility and stern discipline in a demanding and dynamic pose. Exemplifying the artist’s skill, the work tangibly manifests Degas’ enthusiasm for both sculpture and dance, demonstrated by the vivid carves, marks, indentations and textures that are testament to the artist’s vigorous working. Through its rich patina and graceful moulding, Degas gradually conjures up the form of the dancer in a moment of supreme balance.

An archetypal subject of the artist's œuvre, Degas’ dancers project his artistic vision through a unity of expression that elevates sculpture and dance at the centre of civilisation, a view largely upheld by the dominant neoclassical theories during Degas’ time. Although Degas often used sculptures as studies for his paintings, the present work was modelled for its inherent interest, typifying the artist’s enthrallment with the sculptural process. The sacred communion between dance and sculpture was so quintessential to the artist’s work, such that Degas remarked to François Thiébault-Sisson, ‘Draw a dancing figure, with a little skill, you should be able to create an illusion for a short time. But however painstakingly you study your adaptation, you will achieve nothing more than an insubstantial silhouette, lacking all notions of mass and of volume and devoid of prevision. You will achieve truth only through modelling because this is an art that puts an artist under an obligation to neglect none of the essentials.’ (quoted in Richard Kendall, Degas by Himself: Drawings, Prints, Paintings, Writings, London, 1987, p. 245).

The multi-perspectival space occupied by sculpture, also allowed Degas to explore the technical rigour of the dancer, with an expressive immediacy that displayed effortless control and perfect balance, highlighting the masterfulness of both the dancer and Degas. Whilst ballet positions are often named according to the dancer’s spatial relationship to the audience, in his freestanding space, the viewer is invited to boundlessly explore the aesthetic and anatomic stature of the dancer, to circle her in admiration both for her poise, and for Degas’ skill. In describing the pose, art historian Gary Tinterow notes, ‘While the majority of Degas’ s dance sculptures capture fleeting moments of movement or disequilibrium, this work is notable for the perfect balance of the figure and the dancer’s seemingly effortless control over her body.’ (quoted in Degas (exhibition catalogue), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1988, p. 473). An exemplar of Degas’ sculptures and remarkable in its construction, other casts of the model are held in the prestigious collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

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