Seated Dancer, ca. 1871
Stamped at lower left corner, Degas
Using dark washes of thinned oil paint to throw the figure into relief, Degas expertly retained the paper's tone to highlight the dancer's back. This sheet is one of five surviving studies related to the artist's 1872 canvas Dance Class at the Opéra on the Rue le Peletier (Musée d'Orsay, Paris). Typical of Degas' dynamic working method, the figure does not exactly correspond to the final painting, in which her face is seen in full profile and her torso is turned toward the left.