Dancers in the Rotunda at the Paris Opéra
c. 1875-1878 and c. 1894
Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
On View

This view of the main rehearsal studio at the Paris opera house (known as the Palais Garnier) demonstrates Degas’s tendency to revisit and reimagine pictures, sometimes many years after he first painted them. He began work on this canvas around 1875, when the Palais Garnier had just opened. X-rays suggest that the original composition included a spiral staircase at left and a different pose for the dancer at right, but the most dramatic alterations Degas made when he returned to the painting nearly twenty years later have to do with the texture of its surface and the use of color. Thin, overlapping veils of pigment—often applied with fingertips, rather than a brush—create a dreamy, opalescent effect far removed from the crisp naturalism of Degas’s early career.


  • Artist Name: Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
  • Title: Dancers in the Rotunda at the Paris Opéra
  • Date: c. 1875-1878 and c. 1894
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 34-7/8 x 37-3/4 in. (88.6 x 95.9 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1968.25.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

Edgar Degas Estate, Paris (sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 6-8 May 1918, lot 66, as Répétition au foyer de la danse, to);
[Jos Hessel, Paris, who on 10 March 1921 deposited it with Durand-Ruel, Paris (D-R no. 12385).
[Paul Guillaume, Paris by 1922].
Léon Orsodi, heirs of, sold jointly 17 August 1927 to;
[Durand-Ruel, New York (stock no. NY 5022), and Jos Hessel, Paris, sold 22 May 1929 to];
Josef Stransky (1872-1936), New York, still in 1934;
[Wildenstein & Co., New York, by May 1938 – December 1944 to];
[Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, to];
Patricia Kane (Mrs. Pierre) Matisse, New York, sold 1968 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

"Collection of a Collector": Modern French Paintings from Ingres to Matisse (The Private Collection of the late Josef Stransky)

  • London, Wildenstein & Co., 1936-07 to
  • Fake or Fortune,2012,
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 145
  • Lemoisne, Paul-André, Degas et son oeuvre,no. 819 p. 471
  • Loyrette, Henri, et. al., Degas à l'Opéra,2019, fig. 206 p. 202; p. [204] (ill.)
  • Smith College Museum of Art Bulletin, p. 19
  • Flint, Ralph, Art News, p. 88, 97
  • Loyrette, Henri, et. al., Degas at the Opéra,2019, fig. 206 p. 202; p. [204] (ill.)
  • Documentary: Degas and the Dance, 10 years use of listed image within the documentary only in the media of all world television, non-theatric, DVD, and VHS with world rights.,
  • French Masters of the XIX. and XX. Century: The Private Collection of Josef Stransky . . . including recent acquisitions up to May 1935,
  • Kendall, Richard and Jill DeVonyar, Degas and the Dance, exhibition catalogue,fig. 116, color p. 108
  • Cott, Perry B., Bulletin of the Worcester Art Museum, p. 153-155
  • Campbell, Sara et al., Degas in the Norton Simon Museum,2009, Fig. 28 p. 207
  • Russoli, Franco; and Fiorella Minervino, L'opera completa di Degas,no. 823 p. 123
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 521 p. 308
  • Degas by himself: Drawings, prints, paintings, writings, p. 269
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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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