Dancer in Ukrainian Dress

Edgar Degas French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 816

In 1899, Degas produced a series of compositions devoted to dancers in Ukrainian folk dress, in which he fused color, line, and interlocking forms to create tapestry-like pictures. Degas called them his "orgies of color." This figure was excerpted from a fully developed pastel of the same year (private collection), but the present work was almost certainly made by Degas as an independent drawing intended for ready sale. Another work from the series is in the Metropolitan’s Robert Lehman collection (1975.1.166). The subject reflects the surge of French interest in the art and culture of Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire, following France's political alliance with that Empire in 1894.

Dancer in Ukrainian Dress, Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris), Pastel over charcoal on tracing paper

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