Olive Trees Against a Mountainous Background

Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
c. 1890-1892
Pastel over monotype on paper 
comp: 10 x 13-5/8 in. (25.4 x 34.6 cm); sheet: 10-5/8 x 14-1/8 in. (27.0 x 35.9 cm) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation 
Accession Number:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
Not on View

A consummate urbanite who often railed against his Impressionist colleagues for painting landscapes en plein air, Edgar Degas nevertheless turned his focus toward the out-of-doors in the latter part of his career. During a trip to Burgundy in 1890, the artist best known for his images of Parisian dancers and working women began a series of landscape monotypes. Degas made these ethereal, often unrecognizable vistas using a two-step process. First he applied oil paint to a metal plate, wiping paint away
and using his fingers to manipulate the image. After running the plate through a press onto wet paper, he worked up the “printed” image with pastel. The result is an exquisite contrast of textures. Here the smooth monotype underprinting can be seen most clearly below the trees at left in Olive Trees.


[Durand-Ruel, Paris, bought from the artist 2 June 1893, for Fr. 1000, to];
Mr. and Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer, New York, 1894 or 1895; until 1907, by inheritance to his widow Louisine Havemeyer, New York, from 1907-29, by descent to her son;
Horace Havemeyer, New York, from 1929-1956, by descent to his widow;
Doris Havemeyer, New York, 1956-1982, (sale, New York, Sotheby's, 13-18 May 1983, lot 1, to);
The Norton Simon Foundation.

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