Dancers Practicing at the Barre

Artist: Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris)

Date: 1877

Medium: Mixed media on canvas

Dimensions: 29 3/4 x 32 in. (75.6 x 81.3 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929

Accession Number: 29.100.34

Description

The watering can, visible at left, was a standard fixture in ballet rehearsal rooms; water was sprinkled on the floor to keep dust from rising when ballerinas danced. Degas also used the watering can as a visual pun: its shape is mimicked by that of the dancer at right. Shown at the 1877 Impressionist exhibition, the painting was given by Degas to the collector Henri Rouart as a replacement for an earlier work (now lost), which the artist altered and accidentally destroyed. Louisine Havemeyer purchased it from Rouart's estate sale in 1912, for $95,700, a record price for a work by a living artist.

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