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Sheet: 55.2 x 41 cm (21 3/4 x 16 1/8 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade 1916.1043
Degas depicted the ballet in more than 1,000 paintings, prints, pastels, and sculptures. He preferred private, offstage moments to glamorous curtain calls or artfully contrived arrangements. Here, three dancers crowd together stretching in the wings, unaware of the viewer’s presence. Layers of yellow, orange, and pink pastel create a rough, deeply pitted surface characteristic of Degas’s late work in the medium. He invented special techniques that allowed him to build layer upon layer of color with varying degrees of opacity and transparency. This pastel’s rich surface and intense, vibrating palette is the result of such innovative methods.
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