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Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

La fille de Jepht

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
La fille de Jepht
stamped with signature 'Degas' (Lugt 658; lower right)
oil on canvas
14 x 11 in. (36.2 x 27.9 cm.)
Painted circa 1861-1864
The Artist's studio, Deuxime Vente, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 12 December 1918, lot 28.
Anon. sale, Christie's, London, 28 June 1968, lot 46.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
P. A. Lemoisne, Degas et son Oeuvre, vol. II, Paris, 1946, no. 97 (illustrated, p. 49).

Lot Essay

Jephthah, one of the Biblical Judges of Israel, was expelled from the land of his father, Gilead, and took refuge in the Syrian land of Tob. Threatened by the Ammonites, the elders of Gilead called on Jephthah and the vast army he had accrued for assistance, which he consented to give on condition that he become their leader in the event of victory. Jephthah called upon God for his assistance and rashly vowed that, if the Lord would deliver the children of Ammon into his hands, he would sacrifice the first thing that came out of his house upon his return. When Jephthah's only daughter emerged to greet him, he found himself unequal to the task. His daughter then banished herself to the mountains for two months after which her father did indeed offer her as a sacrifice to the Lord. Subsequently the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite for four days a year (see Judges, XI).

The present work is a study for the painting of the same title currently in the collection of the Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts (Lemoisne, no. 94).

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