Art/ Collection/ Art Object

At the Milliner's

Artist:
Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris)
Date:
1882
Medium:
Pastel on pale gray wove paper (industrial wrapping paper), laid down on silk bolting
Dimensions:
30 x 34 in. (76.2 x 86.4 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number:
29.100.38
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 816
Mary Cassatt was the model for the customer in this work and also for another in the milliner series (Museum of Modern Art, New York). She purportedly said that she posed for Degas "only once in a while when he finds the movement difficult and the model cannot seem to get his idea." This pastel was shown in the final Impressionist exhibition, in 1886.
Inscription: Signed and dated (upper right): 1882 / Degas
the artist, Paris (1882; sold on July 15–16, for Fr 2,000 to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1882; stock no. 2508; sold on October 10–12, for Fr 3,500 or 4,000 to Angello]; Mme Angello, Paris (1882–at least 1886); [Alexander Reid, Glasgow and London, by 1891–92; sold in January 1892, for £800 to Arthur]; Thomas Glen Arthur, Glasgow (from 1892); [Martin et Camentron, Paris, by 1894–95; deposited with Durand-Ruel, Paris, March 13–19, 1895 (deposit no. 8637); sold on May 28, 1895, for Fr 15,000 to Durand-Ruel]; [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1895–99; stock no. 3317; sold on January 12, 1899, for Fr 50,000 to Durand-Ruel, New York]; [Durand-Ruel, New York, 1899; stock no. 2097; sold on January 24 to Havemeyer]; Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, New York (1899–his d. 1907); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1907–d. 1929; cat., 1931, p. 127, ill. p. 126)
Paris. 1 Rue Laffitte. "8me exposition de peinture [8th Impressionist exhibition]," May 15–June 15, 1886, no. 14 (as "Femme essayant un chapeau chez sa modiste," lent by Mme A.).

London. Mr. Collie's Rooms. "A Small Collection of Pictures by Degas and Others," December 18, 1891–January 8, 1892, no. 19 (as "Chez la modiste").

Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts. "Thirty-First Exhibition of Works of Modern Artists," February 2–March 1892, no. 562 (as "Chez la Modiste," lent by T. G. Arthur, Esq.).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 10–November 2, 1930, no. 145 [2nd ed., 1958, no. 116].

New York. Wildenstein. "A Loan Exhibition of Degas," April 7–May 14, 1949, no. 60.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Impressionism: A Centenary Exhibition," December 12, 1974–February 10, 1975, not in catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Degas in the Metropolitan," February 26–September 4, 1977, no. 34 (of works on paper).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Degas," September 27, 1988–January 8, 1989, no. 232.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A236.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity," February 26–May 7, 2013, no. 101.

Jean Ajalbert. "Le Salon des impressionnistes." La Revue moderne (June 20, 1886), p. 386 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, p. 430].

Henry Fèvre. "L'Exposition des impressionnistes." La Revue de demain (May–June 1886), p. 154 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, p. 446].

Marcel Fouquier. "Les Impressionnistes." Le XIXe Siècle (May 16, 1886), p. 2 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, p. 448].

Maurice Hermel. "L'Exposition de peinture de la rue Laffitte." La France libre (May 27, 1886), p. 2 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, p. 456].

George Moore. Confessions of a Young Man. 1959 ed. New York, 1886, p. 45, describes seeing this picture at the 1886 Impressionist exhibition, remarking that the woman trying on the hat "is as typical of the nineteenth century as Fragonard's ladies are of the court of Louis XV".

Jules Christophe. "Chronique: Rue Laffitte No. 1." Journal des artistes (June 13, 1886), p. 193 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, p. 436].

Rodolphe Darzens. "Chronique artistique: Exposition des impressionnistes." La Pléiade (May 1886), p. 91 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, p. 439].

Gustave Geffroy. "Salon de 1886: VIII. Hors du Salon: Les Impressionnistes." La Justice (May 26, 1886), pp. 1–2 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, p. 451].

Félix Fénéon. "Les Impressionnistes." La Vogue (June 13–20, 1886), p. 261 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, p. 442].

Labruyère. "Les Impressionnistes." Le Cri du peuple (May 17, 1886), p. 2 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, p. 460].

Octave Mirbeau. "Exposition de peinture (1, rue Laffitte)." La France (May 21, 1886), p. 1 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, p. 465].

Jules Vidal. "Les Impressionnistes." Lutèce (May 29, 1886), p. 1 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, p. 473].

[Octave Maus]. "Les Vingtistes parisiens." L'Art moderne [Brussels] (June 27, 1886), pp. 201–4 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, p. 463].

George Auriol. "Huitième Exposition." Le Chat noir (May 22, 1886), p. 708 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, p. 435].

Roger Marx. "Les Impressionnistes." Le Voltaire (May 17, 1886), p. 2 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, p. 461].

George Moore. "Degas: The Painter of Modern Life." Magazine of Art 13 (October 1890), p. 424.

G[eorge]. M[oore]. "Degas in Bond Street." Speaker (January 2, 1892), pp. 19–20, remarks that this picture "is superb, and is worth the eight hundred pounds that were paid for it".

"Fine-Art Institute." Glasgow Herald (February 20, 1892), p. 4.

Julie Manet. Journal entry. November 7, 1894 [published in Julie Manet, "Journal (1893–1899), sa jeunesse parmi les peintres impressionnistes et les hommes de lettres," preface Jean Griot, Librairie C. Klincksieck, Paris, 1979, p. 50], notes that she saw this picture at M. Camentron's gallery.

Louis Hourticq. "E. Degas." Art et Décoration 32 (July–December 1912), ill. p. 109, as "La modiste".

Paul Lafond. Degas. Vol. 2, Paris, 1919, p. 46, ill. between pp. 44 and 45, as "L'Essai du chapeau".

Harry B. Wehle. "The Exhibition of the H. O. Havemeyer Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 25 (March 1930), p. 55.

"The H. O. Havemeyer Collection." Parnassus 2 (March 1930), p. 7.

H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, pp. 126–27, ill., notes that Mary Cassatt posed for this picture.

D. S. MacColl. Confessions of a Keeper and other Papers. New York, 1931, pp. 130–34.

Louise Burroughs. "Degas in the Havemeyer Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27 (May 1932), p. 142.

Georges Rivière. Mr. Degas: Bourgeois de Paris. Paris, 1935, ill. p. 151, as "La Modiste".

Camille Mauclair. Degas. London, [1937], p. 167, pl. 112, as "The Milliner".

John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. New York, 1946, p. 391, ill.

P[aul]. A[ndré]. Lemoisne. Degas et son œuvre. [reprint 1984]. Paris, [1946–49], vol. 1, p. 123, ill. opp. p. 148 (detail); vol. 2, pp. 382–83, no. 682, ill.

François Fosca. Degas. Geneva, 1954, pp. 75–76, 79, ill. p. 78 (color detail).

Pierre Cabanne. Edgar Degas. Paris, [1957], p. 118, no. 110, pl. 110 [English ed., p. 119, no. 110, pl. 110].

S[amson]. Lane Faison, Jr. "Edouard Manet (1832–1883): The Milliner." Bulletin of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor 15 (August 1957), unpaginated, ill.

Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York, 1961, pp. 257–58, notes that Mary Cassatt posed for this picture, adding that "the movement of the hand that places the hat upon her head, and her pose as she leans upon an umbrella is very characteristic of her".

John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. rev., enl. ed. New York, 1961, ill. p. 524.

Ronald Pickvance. "A Newly Discovered Drawing by Degas of George Moore." Burlington Magazine 105 (June 1963), p. 280 n. 31.

Jean Sutherland Boggs. Drawings by Degas. Exh. cat., City Art Museum of Saint Louis. St. Louis, 1966, pp. 170, 172.

Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 3, XIX–XX Centuries. New York, 1967, pp. 81–82, ill.

Ronald Pickvance. A Man of Influence: Alex Reid, 1854–1928. Exh. cat.Edinburgh, 1967, p. 10, notes that Reid sold this picture to T. G. Arthur.

Alfred Werner. Degas Pastels. New York, 1968, p. 64, colorpl. 23.

Fiorella Minervino in L'opera completa di Degas. Milan, 1970, p. 114, no. 586, ill.

John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. 4th rev. ed. New York, 1973, p. 524, ill.

Carl R. Baldwin. The Impressionist Epoch. Exh. brochure, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. [New York], 1974, ill. p. 26.

Alice Bellony-Rewald. The Lost World of the Impressionists. London, 1976, p. 207, ill.

Theodore Reff. Degas, The Artist's Mind. [New York], 1976, pp. 168–70, 322 n. 92, fig. 119 (color).

Theodore Reff. "Degas: A Master among Masters." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 34 (Spring 1977), p. [39], fig. 70 (color).

Meyer Schapiro. "Mondrian: Order and Randomness in Abstract Painting." Modern Art: 19th & 20th Centuries, Selected Papers. New York, 1978, pp. 239–40, fig. 2, calls it "a simile of the aesthetic perceptions and self-consciousness that preceded abstract art and prepared its way".

Charles S. Moffett. Degas: Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1979, pp. 10, 12, colorpl. 15, notes the influence of Japanese printmaking techniques and photography in the cropping of the shopgirl's face behind the mirror.

Ian Dunlop. Degas. New York, 1979, pp. 155, 168, fig. 144.

Ronald Pickvance. Degas 1879. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Scotland. Edinburgh, 1979, p. 63, under no. 72.

Theodore Reff. "Degas, Lautrec, and Japanese Art." Japonisme in Art: An International Symposium. Tokyo, 1980, pp. 199–200, 211 nn. 52, 53, fig. 8, compares it to Kitagawa Utamaro's woodcut "The Artist Kitao Masanobu Relaxing at a Party" (about 1788), which features a screen dividing the composition like the mirror in this picture.

S[amuel]. Varnedoe. "Of Surface Similarities, Deeper Disparities, First Photographs, and the Function of Form: Photography and Painting after 1839." Arts Magazine 56 (September 1981), pp. 114–15, ill., compares this composition with photographs of the era.

Roy McMullen. Degas: His Life, Times, and Work. Boston, 1984, p. 377.

Richard R. Brettell in Richard R. Brettell and Suzanne Folds McCullagh. Degas in The Art Institute of Chicago. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1984, p. 133.

Charles S. Moffett. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 76–77, 250–51, ill. (color).

Götz Adriani. Degas: Pastels, Oil Sketches, Drawings. Exh. cat., Kunsthalle Tübingen. New York, 1985, p. 377, under no. 141.

Anna Gruetzner. "Degas and George Moore: Some Observations about the Last Impressionist Exhibition." Degas 1834–1984. Ed. Richard Kendall. Manchester, 1985, pp. 36–37, fig. 35.

Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, pp. 133, 255, pl. 94.

Eunice Lipton. Looking into Degas: Uneasy Images of Women and Modern Life. Berkeley, 1986, p. 155, fig. 97.

Richard Thomson. "Degas's Nudes at the 1886 Impressionist Exhibition." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 108 (November 1986), p. 190.

Martha Ward in The New Painting: Impressionism 1874–1886. Ed. Charles S. Moffett. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington. San Francisco, 1986, pp. 430–31, 443–44, fig. 6.

Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, pp. 7, 24, colorpl. 10.

Gary Tinterow in Degas. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. New York, 1988, pp. 375, 377, 395–97, 442, no. 232, ill. (color).

Michael Pantazzi in Degas. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. New York, 1988, p. 247, compares it to "Dancer Posing for a Photograph" (1875; Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, Moscow; L447).

Jean Sutherland Boggs in Degas. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. New York, 1988, p. 489.

Robert Gordon and Andrew Forge. Degas. New York, 1988, p. 112, ill. p. 133 (color), call it "Chez la modiste" and "Femme essayant un chapeau chez sa modiste".

Gary Tinterow and Anne Norton. "Degas aux expositions impressionnistes." Degas inédit: Actes du Colloque Degas. Paris, 1989, p. 343, fig. 19, identify it as no. 14 in the 1886 Impressionist exhibition.

Richard Thomson. "Les poses chez Degas de 1875 à 1886: lecture et signification." Degas inédit: Actes du Colloque Degas. Paris, 1989, p. 217, fig. 2, remarks that the milliner series reintroduced the theme of two women, one in the service of the other, seen in Degas's "scènes de toilette" of 1877.

Richard Thomson. "The Degas Exhibition in Ottawa and New York." Burlington Magazine 131 (April 1989), p. 294.

Henri Loyrette. Degas. Paris, 1991, p. 612.

Carol Armstrong. Odd Man Out: Readings of the Work and Reputation of Edgar Degas. Chicago, 1991, p. 159, fig. 87.

Hollis Clayson. Painted Love: Prostitution in French Art of the Impressionist Era. New Haven, 1991, p. 183 n. 33.

Jean Sutherland Boggs and Anne Maheux. Degas Pastels. New York, 1992, p. 182.

Richard Thomson. "On Narrative and Metamorphosis in Degas." Dealing with Degas: Representations of Women and the Politics of Vision. Ed. Richard Kendall and Griselda Pollock. London, 1992, p. 149.

Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. Ed. Susan Alyson Stein. 3rd ed. [1st ed. 1930, repr. 1961]. New York, 1993, pp. 257–58, 337 n. 376, p. 338 n. 381.

Susan Alyson Stein in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 225, fig. 106 (installation photograph of Exh. New York 1930).

Gary Tinterow in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, colorpl. 47.

Gretchen Wold in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 335, no. A236, ill. p. 333.

Anthea Callen. The Spectacular Body: Science, Method and Meaning in the Work of Degas. New Haven, 1995, pp. 31–33, 35, 200–201, pl. 23, as "Femme essayant un chapeau chez sa modiste".

Marie Simon. Fashion in Art: The Second Empire and Impressionism. London, 1995, pp. 212, 216–17, ill. (color).

Ruth Berson, ed. "Documentation: Volume I, Reviews and Volume II, Exhibited Works." The New Painting: Impressionism 1874–1886. San Francisco, 1996, vol. 1, pp. 430, 435–36, 439, 442, 446, 448, 451–52, 456, 460–61, 463, 465, 467, 470, 473–74; vol. 2, p. 240, no. VIII-14, ill. p. 258, as "Femme essayant un chapeau chez sa modiste".

Barbara Ehrlich White. Impressionists Side by Side: Their Friendships, Rivalries, and Artistic Exchanges. New York, 1996, p. 203, ill. p. 202 (color).

Impressionist and Modern Art, Part I. Sotheby's, New York. December 3, 1996, p. 17, under no. 18.

Rebecca A. Rabinow in Degas and America: The Early Collectors. Exh. cat., High Museum of Art. Atlanta, 2000, p. 39, fig. 9 (color), states that the Havemeyers bought this picture for about $10,000.

Frances Fowle. "Vincent's Scottish Twin: The Glasgow Art Dealer Alexander Reid." Van Gogh Museum Journal (2000), p. 97, fig. 5.

Francesca Castellani in Degas e gli italiani a Parigi. Exh. cat., Palazzo dei Diamanti. Ferrara, 2003, p. 88, fig. 44 (color).

Madeleine Korn. "Exhibitions of Modern French Art and Their Influence on Collectors in Britain 1870–1918: The Davies Sisters in Context." Journal of the History of Collections 16, no. 2 (2004), pp. 209, 213, as "Chez la modiste".

Anna Gruetzner Robins in Anna Gruetzner Robins and Richard Thomson. Degas, Sickert and Toulouse-Lautrec: London and Paris, 1870–1910. Exh. cat., Tate Britain. London, 2005, p. 86.

Aruna D'Souza in The Invisible Flâneuse? Gender, Public Space, and Visual Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris. Ed. Aruna D'Souza and Tom McDonough. Manchester, 2006, p. 131.

Sidsel Maria Søndergaard in Women in Impressionism: From Mythical Feminine to Modern Woman. Ed. Sidsel Maria Søndergaard. Exh. cat., Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen. Milan, 2006, fig. 28 (color).

Ruth E. Iskin. Modern Women and Parisian Consumer Culture in Impressionist Painting. New York, 2007, pp. 60, 68, 72, 76–77, 79–83, 87–88, 90, 97, 101, 112, 240 nn. 96, 99, 100, fig. 33, notes that the salesgirl's lower social status is indicated by rendering her partially visible in the margins of the picture; argues that Degas counteracts the identification of the bourgeois woman as a commodity on display "by excluding her reflection" to focus on "her activity of looking" and by portraying her in sober attire; suggests that Degas refers to Cassatt's "Self-Portrait" (about 1878; MMA 1975.319.1) by showing her in this picture wearing a similar bonnet and thereby refers to her as an artist and as a "fashionable woman who was thoughtful, serious and fully engaged in looking".

Robyn Roslak. Neo-Impressionism and Anarchism in Fin-de-Siècle France: Painting, Politics and Landscape. Aldershot, England, 2007, p. 54, fig. 2.8.

Frances Fowle. Impressionism and Scotland. Exh. cat., National Gallery Complex. Edinburgh, 2008, pp. 46, 67, 125, 143, colorpl. 54, states that it was shown in the February 1892 venue of Alex Reid's exhibition "A Small Collection of Pictures by Degas and others" [however see Exh. Glasgow 1892, "Thirty-First Exhibition of Works of Modern Artists," which opened at the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts on February 2].

Simeran Maxwell in Jane Kinsman. Degas: The Uncontested Master. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Australia. Canberra, 2008, pp. 196, 199 n. 10.

Gloria Groom in Impressionism, Fashion, & Modernity. Ed. Gloria Groom. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay, Paris. Chicago, 2012, pp. 222, 231 [French ed., "L'Impressionnisme et la Mode," Paris, 2012, pp. 239, 244].

Françoise Tétart-Vittu in Impressionism, Fashion, & Modernity. Ed. Gloria Groom. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay, Paris. Chicago, 2012, pp. 212–13, ill. (color) [French ed., "L'Impressionnisme et la Mode," Paris, 2012, p. 226, ill. p. 231 (color)].

Impressionism, Fashion, & Modernity. Ed. Gloria Groom. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay, Paris. Chicago, 2012, p. 296, no. 101, ill. (color) [French ed., "L'Impressionnisme et la Mode," Paris, 2012, p. 298, no. 156].

Kimberly A. Jones. Degas/Cassatt. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2014, pp. 92–94, fig. 5 (color), states that the artist's choice to rely on Cassatt as the model for the painting related to his search for an ineffable quality in mannerisms and gestures shared by "women of privilege" and lacking in his original model for the client; notes that critics remarked on the naturalness of the client's pose when the pastel was exhibited at the 1886 Impressionist exhibition.

Carol Armstrong in Jodi Hauptman. Degas: A Strange New Beauty. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 2016, p. 39, fig. 2 (color).



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