Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Paule Gobillard, Jeannie Gobillard, Julie Manet, and Geneviève Mallarmé

Artist:
Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris)
Date:
1895
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
28.4 x 38.9 cm (11 3/16 x 15 5/16 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gift of Paul F. Walter, 2000
Accession Number:
2000.655.1
Not on view
After having made the majority of his paintings and experimenting with pastel and monotype, Degas briefly turned to photography in late 1895. "Ablaze with enthusiasm," he enlisted his friends as models and appropriated their living rooms as his after-dinner photographic studio. Both the activity itself and the resulting images bound Degas to his circle of close friends and brought comfort in the evening hours when he otherwise dwelled on his own mortality and the death and dispersal of his family.
One December evening, in the company of Auguste Renoir and Stéphane Mallarmé, Degas photographed Mallarmé's daughter Geneviève and "the little Manet girls"- Julie Manet (the seventeen-year-old daughter of Berthe Morisot and Édouard Manet's brother Eugène) and her cousins Paule and Jeannie Gobillard-all three orphans whom the elder artists had taken under their wing. Sitting before Degas, whose camera is reflected in the mirror, the young women are joined to one another by the continuous blackness of their dresses, a backdrop for the gentle rhythm of their hands.
Julie Manet and Ernest Rouart; their descendants; [William Burke]; Paul Walter, 1980

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Edgar Degas, Photographer," October 9, 1998–January 3, 1999.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 30," September 24, 2001–January 20, 2002.

National Gallery of Australia. "Degas: The Uncontested Master," December 12, 2008–March 22, 2009.

Sam Keller, Fondation Beyeler. "Degas: The Late Work," September 30, 2012–January 27, 2013.

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