Edgar Degas

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Edgar Degas
Portrait of a Man
Essence (oil paint thinned with turpentine) and gouache on brown paper.
9 3/4 x 7 1/4 inches (246 x 184 mm)
Bequest of John S. Thacher.

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In 1872 Degas traveled with his brother to New Orleans, where their uncle had a trading firm. There he painted A Cotton Office, completed the following year and shown at the second Impressionist exhibition in 1876 (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Pau; smaller version at Harvard University Art Museums). Depicting fourteen figures in various modes of thought and work, the painting is a masterpiece of group portraiture. This profile study, once identified as a portrait of the artist's brother René, actually depicts John Livaudais, a partner in the cotton exporting firm of Musson, Prestidge, & Co. In the painting, he is at right with his head tilted down, examining a ledger. --Exhibition Label, from “Degas: Drawings and Sketchbooks”


Stamped in red ink at lower left corner, "Degas"; inscribed on verso, in blue pencil at lower left, "664"; also on verso, stamped in red ink at lower left corner, "ATELIER ER DEGAS".

Watermark: none.
Associated names: 

Thacher, John S., former owner.


Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Twenty-First Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1984-1986. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1989, p. 333.

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