Olive Trees Against a Mountainous Background
c. 1890-1892
Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
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.


  • Artist Name: Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
  • Title: Olive Trees Against a Mountainous Background
  • Date: c. 1890-1892
  • Medium: Pastel over monotype on paper
  • Dimensions: 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: F.1983.02.1.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

[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.
  • Russoli, Franco; and Fiorella Minervino, L'opera completa di Degas,no. 965
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 1703 p. 437
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 155
  • Kendall, Richard, Degas Landscapes,no. 190 p. 210, 211-213
  • Megan Fontanella, The Thannhauser Collection: French Modernism at the Guggenheim,2018, Fig. 12.6 p. 86
  • Dumas, Ann; and Richard Kendall, Edgar Degas: The Last Landscapes, the Views of Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme in Context,2006,
  • Kendall, Richard, Degas by Himself, p. 218
  • Boynudelik, Zerrin Iren and Mahmut, Zeytinin Renkleri: Sanat Tarihinde Zeytin Imgesi,2011, p. 275
  • The H.O. Havemeyer Collection, Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture, and Objects of Art, p. 388
  • Campbell, Sara et al., Degas in the Norton Simon Museum,2009, Fig. 26 p. 195
  • Jeannoit, G., La Revue Universelle, pp. 291-293
  • Fondation Beyeler, Edgar Degas Exhibition Catalogue,2012, Fig. 6 p. 217
  • Janis, Eugenia P., Degas Monotypes,no. 319
  • Lemoisne, Paul-André, Degas et son oeuvre,no. 1051 pp. 614-615
  • Museum of Modern Art, Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty,2016, Figure 4 p. #179
  • Kendall, Richard, Apollo,fig. 2, pl. II pp. 40, 41, 43

Additional Artwork by Artist

Actress in Her Dressing Room Edgar Degas c. 1875-1880 and c. 1895-1905
After the Bath Edgar Degas c. 1890-1893 (dated in error by another hand: 1885)
Autograph Letter to Durand-Ruel Edgar Degas n.d.

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