Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)
Etching, first state (one of four known impressions)
plate 6 3/4 x 4 3/4 in. (17.1 x 12 cm)
Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Derald H. Ruttenberg Gift, and several members of The Chairman's Council's Gifts 2003 (2003.329)
During the 1860s, when Degas was very active as a portraitist, he made his friend Manet the subject of a group of drawings and prints, several of which are in the Museum's collection. This etched portrait evolved from a black-chalk drawing in our collection that shows Manet seated casually on a wooden chair. With his overcoat flung open and his hat clasped in his hand, he appears to have dropped by Degas's studio for a brief visit. The print is a rarity; only three impressions from the plate (printed before Degas's tinkering ruined it) had been documented before this crisp example unexpectedly turned up at an auction in Switzerland.