Artist: Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris)
Date: ca. 1890
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 32 3/8 x 29 3/4 in. (82.2 x 75.6 cm)
Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number: 29.100.42
The heavily impastoed surface suggests that Degas worked directly and extensively on this picture, building up passages of oil paint with brushes and his fingers. By mixing his colors with white to make them opaque, and by applying his pigments thickly and in several layers, he approximated the pastel technique that he had perfected in the 1880s. Degas punctuated the composition with the shadowy profile of a top-hatted patron of the Paris Opéra, who enjoys the privilege of dallying with the dancers in the wings during a performance.