A Woman Seated beside a Vase of Flowers (Madame Paul Valpinçon?)

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

Date: 1865

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 29 x 36 1/2 in. (73.7 x 92.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

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

Accession Number: 29.100.128


The juxtaposition of the prominent bouquet and the off-center figure, gazing distractedly to the right, exemplifies Degas’s aim of capturing individuals in seemingly casual, slice-of-life views. The sitter is probably the wife of the artist’s schoolboy friend Paul Valpinçon; Degas immensely enjoyed outings to their country house, Ménil-Hubert, and the dahlias, asters, and gaillardias in the bouquet would suggest a late summer visit. The painting was preceded by a pencil drawing of the woman, also dated 1865 (Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Mass.).