Dancers in Pink

Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
c. 1886
Pastel on paper, mounted on cardboard 
28-1/2 x 15-1/4 in. (72.4 x 38.7 cm) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation 
Accession Number:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
On View

This picture is a pure pastel, whose range of textures—from gleaming silk to airy tulle to powdery, gas-lit flesh—Degas seems to have achieved without wetting or mixing media. Two corps de ballet dancers, peculiarly anonymous in their matching costumes and poses, turn “upstage,” away from an imaginary audience beyond the picture plane. Although these women might at first seem caught unawares, like Degas’s many bathers, the elegant artifice of their movements and attire reminds us that this is a performance staged for our enjoyment.


The artist, sold 11 November 1886 for Ff 500, as Danseuses sous un arbre, to;
[Durand-Ruel, Paris, stock no. 890, sold 22 November 1886 for Ff 800 to];
Henri Lerolle, Paris, still in 1937.
[Hector Brâme, Paris].
Durand-Ruel, Paris].
[Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc., Paris and New York, by 1939].
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., Cleveland, by 1946.
[E.V. Thaw & Co., New York, sold 1969 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation (sale, London, Sotheby Parke Bernet, 1 July 1980, lot 32a, ill., as Danseuses roses, bought-in).

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