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Head, study for the portrait of Mathilde Salle, Modeled 1892; cast 1919-21

Edgar Degas
French, 1834-1917
Copper alloy
10-1/4 x 6 x 7-3/4 in. (26 x 15.2 x 19.7 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on View

Throughout his career Edgar Degas was an extraordinarily successful—albeit unconventional—portraitist who gathered as his sitters family, friends and the dancers in whom he took an interest. He was, however, less successful working in three dimensions, often leaving his clay studies unresolved. This portrait of a dancer who posed for Degas at age 19, displays his challenges with the medium. Even though the studies of this premier ballerina of the Paris Opéra appear to be unfinished, Degas’s sculpted portraits, along with those painted, drawn and photographed, reinforce his commitment to the genre.

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