Edgar Degas

Download image: 
Edgar Degas
Study of a Seated Woman
Oil paint essence (thinned with turpentine), over graphite, on paper, lined to canvas.
13 3/4 x 8 3/16 inches (350 x 209 mm); frame: 21 3/8 x 18 1/4 x 1 3/8 inches
Bequest of John S. Thacher.

On this small sheet, forms are created by broad areas of wash, free from the solid outlines of earlier drawings. Degas' use of thinned paint expanded the creative possibilities of brushwork and color; for instance, the figure's left arm is formed by the negative space between two areas of wash. This is one of several studies made by the artist in preparation for the female figure in Interior (ca. 1868-69, Philadelphia Museum of Art). The ambiguous, tense nocturnal scene in the painting is evocative of contemporary novels, such as Thérèse Raquin, Émile Zola's chronicle of lust and murder. The subject's internal, private focus is emphasized by her oblique position and vague features. --Exhibition Label, from “Degas: Drawings and Sketchbooks”


Stamped in red ink at lower right, "Degas"; inscribed with extraneous numbers in pencil visible through the essence at middle right side, (possibly "2 x 2-").

Watermark: none visible through lining.
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. 332.
Denison, Cara D. French Master Drawings in the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1993, no. 119, repr. in color.

Artist page: