Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Three Dancers Preparing for Class

Artist:
Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris)
Date:
after 1878
Medium:
Pastel on buff-colored wove paper
Dimensions:
21 1/2 x 20 1/2 in. (54.6 x 52.1 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number:
29.100.558
Not on view
The seated dancer in this pastel was derived from a study dated December 1878 of the fifteen-year-old Melina Darde. That drawing and those which explored the poses of the two dancers in the foreground belonged to a stock of figure drawings that Degas used for his larger compositions. There is another variant of this pastel also of the mid-1880s (Private collection).
Inscription: Signed (lower left): Degas
?[Paul Rosenberg, Paris, until 1903; sold early 1903, as "La toilette," for Fr 10,000 to Havemeyer]; ?Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, New York (1903–his d. 1907; shipped by Durand-Ruel on May 7, 1903); Mrs. H. O. (Lousine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1907?–d. 1929; cat., 1931, p. 119)
New York. Grolier Club. "Prints, Drawings and Bronzes by Degas," January 26–February 28, 1922, no. 86 (as "Trois danseuses," probably this picture).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 11–November 2, 1930, no. 151 (as "Three Dancers at Their Toilet") [2nd ed., 1958, no. 125].

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

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A225.

H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, p. 119.

P[aul]. A[ndré]. Lemoisne. Degas et son œuvre. [reprint 1984]. Paris, [1946–49], vol. 2, pp. 304–5, no. 542, ill., calls it "Trois danseuses à leur toilette" and dates it about 1879; compares it to "Danseuse au repos" (Vasselot collection, Paris; L543) and a charcoal study of a dancer (3rd Degas sale, no. 209).

Lillian Browse. Degas Dancers. New York, [1949], pp. 59, 397, pl. 185, calls it "Trois Danseuses se preparant à la classe" and dates it about 1886–88.

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, p. 85, ill.

Alfred Werner. Degas Pastels. New York, 1968, p. 44, colorpl. 13, dates it about 1886.

Fiorella Minervino in L'opera completa di Degas. Milan, 1970, p. 120, no. 729, ill., calls it Three Ballerinas in a Dressing Room and dates it about 1879.

Bernard Dunstan. Painting Methods of the Impressionists. New York, 1976, p. 92, ill. (color), as "Three Dancers at Their Toilet".

Eugénie de Keyser. Degas: Réalité et métaphore. Louvain-la-Neuve, 1981, p. 66, calls it "Danseuses ajustant leurs chaussons" and dates it about 1890.

Suzanne Folds McCullagh in Degas in The Art Institute of Chicago. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1984, p. 150, fig. 71-2, calls it "Three Dancers in a Room" and dates it about 1879; compares it to the pastel "Preparation for the Class" (1882–85; formerly Art Institute of Chicago; sold Sotheby's, London, June 30, 1998, no. 10, L1012).

Philippe Brame and Theodore Reff. Degas et son oeuvre: A Supplement. New York, 1984, p. 102, under no. 94, dates it about 1879 and compares it to the pastel "Danseuses au repos" (about 1885; formerly Victoria Nebeker Coberly Family Trust; sold, Christie's, New York, May 12, 1992, no. 108).

Michael Pantazzi in Degas. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. New York, 1988, p. 339, under no. 220, claims that the seated dancer in this pastel is clearly derived from the well-known study dated December 1878 of Melina Darde seated (II:230.1)".

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, 337 n. 376.

Susan Alyson Stein in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 235, 286.

Gretchen Wold in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 330–31, no. A225, ill.

Impressionist and Modern Art, Part I. Sotheby's, London. June 30, 1998, p. 32, fig. 3, calls it "Trois danseuses à leur toilette" and dates it about 1879.



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