Edgar Degas

Head of a Woman


Not on display

Edgar Degas 1834–1917
Original title
Tête de femme
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 175 × 197 mm
Presented by A.E. Anderson through the Art Fund 1924

Display caption

Little is known of the history of this painting or the woman's identity. The exceptionally small size of the work indicates that it may be a study, or even a fragment from a larger canvas. Unusually for Degas, the painting itself offers few clues about the identity of the model or the significance of her melancholic gaze. It is possible that it should be seen one of a number of small studies of female figures executed by Degas in the early 1870s on the theme of different emotions and moods. These pictures were part of Degas' project to examine and record different aspects of female experience in public and private life.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

Edgar Degas 1834-1917

N03833 Tête de Femme (Head of a Woman) c.1873

Not inscribed
Oil on canvas mounted on millboard, 6 7/8 x 7 3/4 (17.5 x 20) >br>Presented by A.E. Anderson through the NACF 1924
Prov: [?M. Lafond]; with Leicester Galleries, London, 1922; A.E. Anderson, London
Lit: P.A. Lemoisne, Degas et son Oeuvre (Paris 1946), No.330, Vol.2, p.168, repr. p.169 (dated c.1873); Franco Russoli and Fiorella Minervino, L'Opera Completa di Degas (Milan 1970), No.369, p.104, repr. p.103

This head may have been cut down from a larger canvas. In the Leicester Galleries' records the name of the previous owner is almost illegible but looks like Lafond: this would probably be Paul Lafond, a friend of Degas' and author of an authoritative study on his work.

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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