Head, study for the portrait of Mathilde Salle

Head, study for the portrait of Mathilde Salle
Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
Modeled 1892; cast 1919-21
Copper alloy 
10-1/4 x 6 x 7-3/4 in. (26 x 15.2 x 19.7 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
On View

Throughout his career Edgar Degas was an extraordinarily successful—albeit unconventional—portraitist who gathered as his sitters family, friends and the dancers in whom he took an interest. He was, however, less successful working in three dimensions, often leaving his clay studies unresolved. This portrait of a dancer who posed for Degas at age 19, displays his challenges with the medium. Even though the studies of this premier ballerina of the Paris Opéra appear to be unfinished, Degas’s sculpted portraits, along with those painted, drawn and photographed, reinforce his commitment to the genre.


Adrien-Aurélien Hébrard, Paris, to his daughter;
Nelly Hébrard, Paris;
[Alex Reid & Lefevre, London, sold 17 January 1977 to];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

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