Sketchbook, ca. 1880 and after
Contains 21 drawings on 43 leaves
Inscribed by Halévy throughout, notably on first leaf, in pen and black ink, Tous les croquis de cet album / on été faits chez moi par Degas. / Années 1880 et suivantes.
Chiefly graphite, with touches of charcoal and a few leaves executed in blue chalk; bound in tan linen.
This large notebook, distinguished by numerous images drawn from memory, was purchased by Degas' friend Ludovic Halévy for the artist's use during after-dinner conversation. The subjects range from the whimsical to the thoughtful, with quick portraits of dinner guests, sketches of dancers, and scenes from a Turkish bath.
Degas and Halévy were both deeply involved in the world of music and theater and intrigued by details of modern life and popular entertainment. In this sketch, the artist depicted the subject of his 1879 painting, the dangling form of Miss La La, a contemporary circus sensation, along with a focused study of the mouthpiece she used in her act.