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Stamped Degas, numbered 61/M and stamped with the foundry mark A.A. Hébrard Cire Perdue
Height: 8 in.

Conceived in the 1890s and cast at a later date in an edition numbered A to T, plus two copies reserved for the heirs of Degas and the Founder Hébrard, marked respectively HER.D and HER.

Private Collection
Sale: Sotheby's, London, April 11, 1962, lot 41a
Private Collection
Sale: Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, October 13, 1965, lot 44
Adèle & Irving Moskovitz Collection (acquired at the above sale)
Private Collection

John Rewald, ed., Degas: Works in Sculpture, A Complete Catalogue, New York, 1944, no. LXVIII, mentioned p. 28, original wax model illustrated pp. 132-133
Rewald & L. von Matt, Degas Sculpture, The Complete Works, New York, 1956, no. LXVIII, mentioned p. 156, another example illustrated p. 81-82
Lassaigne & F. Minervino, Tout l’oeuvre peint de Degas, Paris, 1974, no. S 64, mentioned p. 144, original wax model illustrated p. 145
Charles W. Millard, The Sculpture of Edgar Degas, Princeton, 1979, mentioned p. xix, original wax model illustrated pl. 131
John Rewald, Degas’s Complete Sculpture, Catalogue Raisonné, San Francisco, 1990, no. LXVIII, original wax model illustrated p. 174; other examples illustrated pp. 175 & 199
Anne Pingeot, Degas Sculptures, Paris, 1991, no. 64, original wax model illustrated pp. 183-184; other examples illustrated pp. 103-05
Sara Campbell, "Degas, The Sculptures, A Catalogue Raisonné" in Apollo, vol. CXLII, August 1995, nos. 402 and 61, mentioned p. 41, another example illustrated fig. 59
Joseph S. Czestochowski & Anne Pingeot, Degas Sculptures, Catalogue Raisonné of the Bronzes, Memphis, 2002, no. 61, mentioned p. 241, another example illustrated p. 240; original wax model illustrated p. 241
Sarah Campbell, Richard Kendall, Daphne Barbour & Shelley Sturman, Degas in the Norton Simon Museum, vol. II, Pasadena, 2009, no. 89, mentioned pp. 441, 444 & 547-548, detail of another example illustrated p. 442, fig. 89c-e; another example illustrated p. 443
Suzanne Glover Lindsay, Daphne S. Barbour & Shelley G. Sturman, Edgar Degas, Sculpture, The Collections of the National Gallery of Art, Princeton, 2010, no. 47, mentioned pp. 276 & pp. 278-80, original wax model illustrated pp. 277-278, fig. 3

One of the most prominent motifs in Edgar Degas’ oeuvre is the female bather. The artist employed sculpture to study the anatomy and posture of his bathing subjects for his charcoal, oil, and pastel work. As such, these sculptures are a rare insight into the artist’s creative process. As was the case with Degas's entire series of sculptures, Femme se lavant la jambe gauche was conceived in wax at the end of the artist's lifetime and cast at a later date. The present work is among the smallest free-standing sculptures Degas produced and has been identified as, in the words of historian Suzanne Glover Lindsay, a small “tabletop environment,” a sculpture that is both casual and anecdotal often displayed in domestic spaces (S. Glover Lindsay, D.S. Barbour & S.G. Sturman, Edgar Degas, Sculpture, The Collections of the National Gallery of Art, Princeton, 2010, p. 279). By depicting a nude woman drying off after a bath–a highly intimate and informal subject for the time–Degas pushed the boundaries of traditional sculpture into the modern age. Viewers are not given enough visual context to infer the subject’s social class (some scholars have even pondered whether she is a prostitute). This indistinction is a powerful tool for Degas–the beauty of the bather becomes universal, worthy of revered depiction, regardless of status. Femme se lavant la jambe gauche exemplifies the vanguard nature of Degas' sculpture and the still-felt influence these works would hold on subsequent generations of artists.

For all enquires, please contact David.Schrader@sothebys.com

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