Edgar Degas

Head of a Woman

c.1874

Original title
Tête de femme
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 321 x 267 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Viscount D'Abernon and Lord Duveen 1919
Reference
N03390

Display caption

The identity of the sitter for this painting is unknown. The heavily textured canvas and bold brushwork are not typical of Degas' style in this period, and suggest that the work may have been experimental. A blackish underpainting is visible in many places. This has almost certainly become more visible since the picture was painted, due to a tendency of oil paint to increase in translucency as it ages. It seems likely that the figure's face would originally have been unblemished.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

Edgar Degas 1834-1917

N03390 Tête de Femme (Head of a Woman) c.1874

Inscribed 'Degas' t.l.
Oil on canvas, 12 5/8 x 10 1/2 (32 x 27)
Presented by Viscount D'Abernon and Lord Duveen 1919
Prov: 1st Degas sale, Petit, Paris, 6-8 May 1918, lot 15, repr.; bt. Stettiner for Viscount D'Abernon, 8,500 frs.; Viscount D'Abernon, London, and Lord Duveen, London, 1918
Lit: P.A. Lemoisne, Degas et son Oeuvre (Paris 1946), No.355, Vol.2, p.186, repr. p.187 (dated c.1874); Franco Russoli and Fiorella Minervino, L'Opera Completa di Degas (Milan 1970), No.373, p.104 repr.
Repr: J.B. Manson, The Life and Work of Edgar Degas (London 1927), pl.6

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.145, reproduced p.145

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