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Portrait of a Woman (Mme Bartholome?), 1885-88

Edgar Degas

French, 1834-1917
Bronze
4-13/16 x 6-11/16 x 5-5/16 in. (12.2 x 17 x 13.5 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1977.02.68.S
© 2012 Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on view

Although the identity of the sitter for this small bronze remains unconfirmed, the most likely candidate is Périe Bartholomé, who had died at a young age in 1887 and who was the wife of Degas’s friend, sculptor Paul-Albert Bartholomé. At the time that Degas had modeled the bust in plaster, he was working alongside Bartholomé and even sharing models, including Mathilde Salle (see bronzes at left). It was also during this period that Bartholomé was creating a monument to Périe, which closely resembles the costume and pose adopted by Degas’s sitter. The artist’s tender attention to her face and the wistful placement of her hand on her tilted head conveys an intimacy that resonates regardless of the identity of the sitter.

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