Etching and drypoint
Support: Laid paper
Sheet: 31.5 x 22.6 cm (12 3/8 x 8 7/8 in.); Platemark: 23 x 14.5 cm (9 1/16 x 5 11/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 2004.87
Catalogue raisonné: Reed and Shapiro 8
This early self-portrait is especially rare among Edgar Degas's prints, and few impressions are known to exist.
In the 1850s Degas frequently used himself as a model, but he made only one printed self-portrait. Through successive stages of biting the plate and layers of crosshatching, Degas gradually built areas of dark tone. In this impression, Degas added etched lines on the face, hat, and coat and carefully wiped his copper plate to create atmospheric effects. His clearly drawn eyes directly engage the viewer, resulting in a psychologically powerful and intense portrait of the young artist at age 23. This impression was dedicated to his friend, the painter and sculptor Paul Albert Bartholomé.
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