c. 1879-1882
Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
Not on View

With its raking composition and abrupt contrast of black and white, this picture grants us a glimpse backstage at the Paris Opéra without revealing any clear, coherent narrative. The two figures, each apparently absorbed in her own thoughts, may represent a young dancer and her chaperone or, indeed, one dancer dressed for rehearsal and another in street clothes. Only their shared sense of exhaustion and anxiety is clear—suggesting, perhaps, the anticipation or aftermath of an examination. Degas, as no artist before or since, took a keen interest in the physical routine of ballet dancers’ lives, the labor behind their art. At the Opéra, examinations played an important role in this routine, determining dancers’ salaries and professional advancement.


  • Artist Name: Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
  • Title: Waiting
  • Date: c. 1879-1882
  • Medium: Pastel on beige laid paper
  • Dimensions: 19 x 24 in. (48.2 x 61 cm)
  • Credit Line: Jointly owned by the Norton Simon Art Foundation, Pasadena and The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Accession Number: M.1983.1.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

Léon-Marie Clapisson, Paris, before 1882, sold for frf. 6000 on 21 April 1892 to;
[Galerie Durand Ruel, Paris (stock number 2124), sold for f. 15,000 on 19 September 1895 to];
H. O. and Louisine Havemeyer, New York, until 1907;
Louisine Havemeyer, New York, 1907-1929, by descent to her son;
Horace Havemeyer, New York, 1929-1956, by descent to his widow;
Doris Dick Havemeyer, New York, 1956-1982 (sale, New York, Sotheby’s, 18 May 1983, lot 8, to);
Norton Simon Art Foundation, Pasadena, and The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (JPG #83.GG.219).

Masterpieces by Old and Modern Painters

  • New York, M. Knoedler & Co., 1915-04-06 to 1915-04-24
  • Lipton, Eunice, Looking into Degas: Uneasy Images of Women and Modern Life,fig. 61 pp. 102-103
  • Browse, Lillian, Degas Dancers,no. 71 p. 362
  • Rivière, Georges, Degas, p. 85
  • Lecomte, G., L'Art et les Artistes, p. 26
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, pp. 314-315
  • Heilbrun, F., Degas inédit. Actes du Colloque Degas, p. 177
  • L'Art et les Artistes, p. 322
  • Bouret, J., Degas, p. 212
  • Campbell, Sara et al., Degas in the Norton Simon Museum,2009, Fig. 20 p. 172
  • The Impressionist Revolution, pp. 205, 261
  • McMullen, Roy, Degas: His Life, Times, and Work, pp. 367, 472
  • Mauclair, Camille, Degas,no. 117, pl. 177
  • Florin, L., Art, pp. 40-41
  • Norton, Thomas E., 100 Years of Collecting in America: The Story of Sotheby Parke-Bernet, p. 223
  • Keller, Horst, Edgar Degas,fig. 104
  • Jamot, Paul, Degas,pl. 58b p. 151
  • Lord Hindlip, An Auctioneer's Lot, Triumphs and Disasters at Christie's and Beyond,2016, p. 124 ; p. 125 (ill.)
  • Clark, Kenneth, The Romantic Rebellion: Romantic versus Classic Art, p. 320
  • Weitzenhoffer, Frances, The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America, pp. 95, 107
  • King, Pauline, The House Beautiful, p. 5
  • Rewald, John, Edgar Degas,no. 2
  • The Museums of the World, p. 14
  • Russoli, Franco; and Fiorella Minervino, L'opera completa di Degas,no. 778 p. 122
  • Wilson, William, California Museums, p. 176
  • Wold, G., Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection,no. 237
  • Vollard, Amboise, Degas, p. 113
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 1704 p. 437
  • Weitzenhoffer, Frances, The Creation of the Havemeyer Collection, 1875-1900,fig. 74 p. 241
  • Bentley, T., Art & Antiques, p. 75
  • Revue de l'Art, p. 389
  • Nicodemi, Giorgio, Il pittore, i cavalli e le ballerine, opp. p. 96
  • Distel, Anne, Renoir's Portraits, Impressions of an Age, p. 349
  • Schacherl, Lillian, Edgar Degas: Dancers and Nudes, pp. 30, 123
  • Degas: Form and Space,fig. 132 p. 132
  • Meyer, S., First Impressions: Edgar Degas, pp. 67-68, 91
  • Vollard, Ambroise, Degas: An Intimate Portrait, p. 103
  • Duret-Robert, F., Connaissance des Arts, pp. 68-69
  • Herbert, Robert, Impressionism: Art, Leisure and Parisian Society,fig. 120 pp. 118, 199
  • Moore, G., Kunst und Künstler, p. 145
  • Rich, Daniel C., Edgar-Hilaire-Germain Degas, pp. 19, 98, 99
  • Rubin, Susan Goldman, Degas and the Dance, p. 23
  • Kendall, Richard, Degas by Himself, p. 206
  • Frederickson, Burton, The Burlington Magazine,fig. 107 p. 268
  • Alexandre, Arsène, La Renaissance de l'Art Français, p. 483
  • Thomson, Richard, Edgar Degas: Waiting,
  • Hoving, Thomas, The Connoisseur, p. 11
  • Fredericksen, Burton, Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum,no. 44
  • Geffroy, Gustave, L'Art et les Artistes, p. 16
  • Cabanne, Pierre, Edgar Degas,pl. 96 pp. 99, 108, 134
  • 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.,
  • Lemoisne, Paul-André, Degas et son oeuvre,no. 698 pp. 115, 150, 395
  • Vollard, Amboise, Degas: An Intimate Portrait, p. 27
  • The H. O. Havemeyer Collection: catalogue of paintngs, prints, sculptures, and works of Art, pp. 382-383
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 146
  • Art at Auction: The Year at Sotheby's 1982-1983,fig. 5 pp. 11, 100
  • Boggs, Jean Sutherland, Degas inédit. Actes du Colloque Degas, p. 42
  • Lafond, Paul, Degas, pp. 30, 36
  • Havemeyer, Louisine, Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector, pp. 246, 258
  • Dumas, Ann, and others, Degas e gli italiani a Parigi,fig. 24 pp. 50-51
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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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