Support: Blue laid (?) paper (faded to gray-green), laid down on brown wove paper on wooden stretcher
Sheet: 49.8 x 32.1 cm (19 5/8 x 12 5/8 in.); Secondary Support: 50.6 x 38 cm (19 15/16 x 14 15/16 in.)
Gift of the Mildred Andrews Fund 1988.93
Executed rapidly in pastel, the forms in this portrait of Degas’s artist friend, Count Ludovic Lepic, are defined with expressive freedom and emotional force. The heads of both the dog and its master are summarily indicated by the dark lines that define shoulder, mouths, eyes, and ears, and by the white areas that highlight the planes of Lepic’s face and forehead. The Belgian Griffon’s mouth is turned upward, as though smiling, but Lepic’s expression is weary and wistful; his eyes suggest suffering. A penetrating vision of life coming to its inevitable close, the pastel is one of Degas’s most compassionate portraits. About a month after he completed it, his childhood friend died at age 50.
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