Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen
Modeled 1878–81; cast after 1936
Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
On View

The original wax model of "The Little Fourteen Year Old Dancer" was exhibited in the sixth Impressionist Exhibition of April 1881, presenting the Parisian public with an extraordinary new conception of sculpture. Degas dressed the wax figure in a silk bodice, gauze tutu, and fabric slippers, with a satin ribbon in her real hair wig. The wig, slippers, and bodice were covered with a layer of wax to help unite them with the rest of the work, while preserving their special texture. His model, Marie von Goethem, was a student of the Ballet de l'Opera and worked as an artist's model. Accustomed to representations that idealized human forms, the public had mixed reactions to the graphic portrayal of an adolescent dance student, dressed in real clothing. After the exhibition, Degas returned the "Little Dancer" to his apartment, where it remained until his death in 1917.


  • Artist Name: Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
  • Title: Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen
  • Date: Modeled 1878–81; cast after 1936
  • Medium: Painted bronze with cotton and silk on a wooden base
  • Dimensions: 37-5/8 x 13-3/16 x 9-15/16 in. (95.6 x 33.5 x 25.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1977.02.70.S
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

Adrien-Aurélien Hébrard, Paris, to his daughter;
Nelly Hébrard, Paris;
[Alex Reid & Lefevre, London, sold 17 January 1977 to];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.
  • Campbell, Sara et al., Degas in the Norton Simon Museum,2009, Fig. 47 p. 279
  • Sutton, Denys, Edgar Degas: Life and Work,no. 169 p. 186
  • Szakacs, Dennis, Richard Jackson: Ain't Painting a Pain,2013, Fig. 19 p. 29
  • Campbell, Sara, Apollo,fig. 71 pp. 46-47
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 1397 p. 402
  • The Lefevre Gallery, The Complete Sculptures of Degas,no. 73 pp. cover, 2, 91
  • Failing, P., ArtNews, pp. 38-41
  • Kendall, R., Degas and the Little Dancer,figs. 70, 76 pp. 100, 104
  • Janson, Anthony et al., History of Art and A Basic History of Art (Both including trade versions) with a total print run of 100,000,fig. 23-24 pp. 506-507
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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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