Edgar Degas (French, 18341917)
Oil colors freely mixed with turpentine, with traces of watercolor and pastel over pen–and–ink drawing on cream–colored wove paper, laid down on bristol board and mounted on canvas; 21 3/8 x 28 3/4 in. (54.3 x 73 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Gift of Horace Havemeyer, 1929 (29.160.26)
There are three very similar versions of this composition. The largest, painted in grisaille (Musée d'Orsay, Paris), was shown in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. The two other works, tentatively dated to the same year, are in the Metropolitan's collection. This painting probably preceded its close variant in pastel (29.100.39), which is more freely handled. Preparatory drawings exist for almost every figure in the rehearsal compositions.