Dancers in the Wings
c. 1876-1878
Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
On View

Combining pastel, pastel paste, gouache, distemper (glue-based paint), and peinture à l’essence (conventional paint drained of its oil), this picture is among the most technically sophisticated in Degas’s oeuvre. Color is applied wet, with a brush, for the reverse of a stage flat at left and in rapid, liquid skeins for the ornaments in the dancers’ hair, but dry pastel, rubbed over the bare laid paper, creates an airy effect in the tutus. Degas seems to have begun the composition with the dancer in pink and built it outward, adding nine strips of paper around the edges to make room for her companion, dressed as a butterfly. This costume has been identified with a specific ballet, La Source (The Spring), danced at the Paris Opéra in the 1875–76 season.

Details

  • Artist Name: Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
  • Title: Dancers in the Wings
  • Date: c. 1876-1878
  • Medium: Pastel, gouache, distemper, and "essence" on paper, mounted on board
  • Dimensions: 27-1/4 x 19-3/4 in. (69.2 x 50.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1977.06.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

Madame de Clermont, Paris, 1899.
[Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, stock no. 1261, by at 1914 (possibly by 1912), sold 1928 to];
[Reid & Lefevre, London, stock no. 316/28, owned jointly with M. Knoedler & Co., Paris and New York, stock no. A603, sold 15 October 1929 to];
Mrs. Edouard L. Jonas (Mrs. H. Harris Jonas, 1884–1974), Paris and New York, to;
[Wildenstein, New York, sold 2 March 1977 to];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

Exposition Centennale d'art français

  • Paris, Grand Palais, 1900 to
Shackelford, George, Degas-The Dancers, fig. 2.II p. 61
Dye, Sean, The Mixed-Media Sourcebook, p. 10
Hertz, Henri, Degas, pl. XII p. 48
Lassaigne, Jacques, Edgar Degas, p. 33
Schacherl, Lillian, Edgar Degas: Dancers and Nudes, pp. 50-51, 123
Keller, Horst, Edgar Degas, fig. 85 p. 102
Vanity Fair, p. 45
McMullen, Roy, Degas: His Life, Times, and Work, p. 362-363
Kendall, Richard and Jill DeVonyar, Degas and the Dance, exhibition catalogue, fig. 192, color p. 172
Meier-Graefe, Julius, Degas, pl. XCIX
Schwabe, Randolph, Degas: the Draftsman, pl. 1
Alexandre, Arsène, Les Arts, p. iv
Kent, S., Eyewitness Art: Composition, p. 53
Mauclair, Camille, Degas, pp. 121, 167
The Great Artists: Their Lives, Works, and Inspiration, pp. 490-491
Degas: Art in the Making, fig. 26 pp. 31-32
Lemoisne, Paul-André, La Revue de l'Art, pl. 13 p. 104
Browse, Lillian, Degas Dancers, p. 59, 360
Borgmeyer, Charles Louis, The Master Impressionists, p. 237
Thomson, Richard, Edgar Degas: Waiting, fig. 26 pp. 42
Frankfurter, Alfred, Art News, p. 11
Maheux, Anne, Degas Pastels, n. 32, fig. 11, fig. 11a. fig. 16 pp. 29, 80, 30, 31
Multiple, Christian Lacroix, La Source et le Ballet de l'Opera, p. 31
Jamot, Paul, Degas, no. 105 pp. 84-85
Reff, Theodore, Metropolitan Museum Journal, p. 50, 150-151
Vollard, Ambroise, Degas: Quatre-vignt-dix-huit reproductions signées par Degas,
Schacherl, Lillian, Edgar Degas: Dancers and Nudes, pp. 51, 123
Mauclair, Camille, Edgar Degas,
The French Impressionists in Southern California: Paintings, Sculptures and Prints in Public Collections. A Guide Book and Catalogue, pp. 32-33
Boggs, Jean Sutherland, et al., Degas, pp. 202-203, 207-208
Tatsuya Saito, Revue de l'art, fig. 3 pp. 24-25 ; p. 25 (ill.), front and back covers (ill.)
Daily Record,
Reff, Theodore, Degas: The Artist's Mind, p. 283-284, 337
Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, p. 147
Lafond, Paul, Degas, opp. p. 72
Rouart, Denis, Degas à la recherche de sa technique, p. 18
Lemoisne, Paul-André, Degas et son oeuvre, no. 585 pp. 330-331
Hüttinger, Eduard, Degas,
Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, cat. 1409 p. 403
Country Life, p. 964
La Cronique des Arts, fig. 247 p. 56
Knowlton, Walter, Creative Art, p. sup.-52
L'Art Moderne et quelques aspects de l'art d'autrefois, pl. 53
Dumont, Henri, Degas, pp. 46-47
Russoli, Franco; and Fiorella Minervino, L'opera completa di Degas, no. 753 p. 120-121
Rouart, Denis, Degas: In Search of His Technique, pp. 44-45
Le Foll, Joséphine, L'impressionnisme, none pp. 185
Art News, pp. 3, 5
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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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