Edgar Degas

Dancer at Rest, her Hands on her Hips, Right Leg Forward

c.1890, cast 1919–20

Original title
Danseuse au repos, les mains sur les reins, la jambe droite en avant
Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
Object: 457 x 152 x 229 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1949
Reference
N05920

Display caption

'Dancer at Rest', like the majority of Degas' sculptures, depicts a female model in a pose which occurs in a number of his pastels and oil paintings. In these, she appears both as a dancer resting in the wings and as a bather in her bedroom. There is some uncertainty about Degas' ambitions for his sculptures. Only one was ever exhibited in his lifetime, and he maintained that they were 'documentary, preparatory motions', created to assist him with his work on paper and canvas. This seems to be supported by the fact that, as with 'Dancer at Rest', the models' faces are always ill-defined, in contrast to the detailed description of their physiques.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

Edgar Degas 1834-1917

N05920 Danseuse au Repos, les Mains sur les Reins, la Jambe droite en avant (Dancer at rest, her Hands on her Hips, Right Leg forward) c.1890-5

Stamped 'Degas', '41/I' and founder's stamp 'CIRE | PERDUE | A.A. HÉBRARD' on base
Bronze, 17 ½ x 5 x 9 (44.5 x 12.7 x 23), the depth including the projecting base
Purchased from Roland, Browse and Delbanco (Benson and Cleve Funds) 1949
Prov: Mlle Jeanne Fèvre (the artist's niece); with Galerie Kaganovitch, Paris; with Roland, Browse and Delbanco, London
Lit: John Rewald, Degas: Works in Sculpture (New York 1944), No.XXIII, p.22, repr. pp.72, 73 (assigned to the period 1882-95); John Rewald, Degas: Sculpture (London 1957), No.XXIII, p.145, repr. pls.55, 56 and fig.7; Michèle Beaulieu, 'Les Sculptures de Degas: Essai de Chronologie' in Revue du Louvre, XIX, No.6, 1969, p.375; Charles W. Millard, The Sculpture of Edgar Degas (Princeton 1976), pp.71, 102, wax repr. pl.47

This pose, with the feet in fourth position and the hands on the hips, appears in a number of pictures of dancers from about 1890 onwards (e.g. Lemoisne No.1015): the dancer is seen in the wings of the theatre preparing to go on stage. There is also a very similar sculpture of a nude figure (Rewald No.XXII) and another sculpture, apparently later, in which the figure wears a ballet skirt (No.LII).

The original is in green wax; pieces of cork appear in the base.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.153, reproduced p.153

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