Seated Dancer Rubbing Her Leg
c. 1878
Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
Not on View

In the late 1870s and early 1880s, Degas developed a near-obsession with the motif of the seated dancer rubbing her leg or adjusting her shoe. His interest in this pose, at once intimate and awkward, sums up his fascination with life backstage at the ballet—the grit behind the glamor. This single-figure study is squared off in charcoal to facilitate the figure’s enlargement and transfer to a broader composition, possibly a pastel titled Dancers Resting today in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


  • Artist Name: Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
  • Title: Seated Dancer Rubbing Her Leg
  • Date: c. 1878
  • Medium: Charcoal with white and dark brown pastel on gray-brown laid paper
  • Dimensions: 17-5/8 x 12-1/4 in. irreg. (44.8 x 31.1 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1978.23.D
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

Michel Manzi, Paris (sale, Paris, Galerie Manzi Joyant, 13-14 March 1919, lot 127, as Danseuse se chaussant, to);
?Private Collection, France.
Docteur Édouard (Eduardo) Mollard, Paris (d. 1947), by inheritance to his widow;
Mme. Enriqueta Alsop-Mollard (d.1971) (sale, Paris, Galerie Charpentier, 21 March 1958, lot B, as Danseuse se chaussant, for ff. 5,400 to);
[Paul Rosenberg & Co., Inc., New York, stock no. 5731, sold November 1959 to];
John D. Rockefeller III, New York.
[E. V. Thaw & Co., Inc., New York, 1978, sold 22 August 1978 to];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

[on loan]

  • Art Institute of Chicago, 1978-08-09 to 1979-03-05
  • Museum of Modern Art, Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty,2016, Figure 2 p. #64
  • Carmen Fernández Jacob, La Patalogía Ocular en la Pintura a Través de la Clínica Oftalmológica,2017, Fig 5 p. 103
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 1542 p. 419
  • Browse, Lillian, Degas Dancers,no. 67, pl. 67 p. 361
  • Hüttinger, Eduard, Degas, p. 88
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 146
  • Campbell, Sara et al., Degas in the Norton Simon Museum,2009, Fig. 14 p. 145

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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