Edgar Degas


Ballet dancers were a central theme of Degas’s oeuvre beginning in the 1870s; to him, the art form uniquely embodied both classical grace and modern realism. The artist—who once self- deprecatingly said, “My chief interest in dancers lies in rendering movement and painting pretty clothes”—adopted a more formal approach to the figure in his later years. On this sheet, visible erasures show Degas's process as he subtly shifted the positions of the two models, who appear to be adjusting invisible bodices.

Edgar Degas
French, 1834–1917
Study of Dancers, 1895–1900
Charcoal and pastel on pale- pink paper (discolored to tan)
Gray Family Collection
Gray Collection Trust, Art Institute of Chicago
Photography by Jamie Stukenberg, Professional Graphics Inc.