Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
On occasion, Christie’s has a direct financial int… Read more PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION 
Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

Danseuse, position de quatrième devant sur la jambe gauche, troisième étude

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Danseuse, position de quatrième devant sur la jambe gauche, troisième étude
stamped with the signature 'Degas' (Lugt 658), numbered and stamped with the foundry mark '6/I CIRE PERDUE A.A.HÉBRARD' (on the base)
bronze with light brown patina
16 1/8 in. (41 cm.)
The original wax model executed circa 1880s; cast from 1920-1921 by the A.A. Hébrard foundry in an edition of twenty, numbered A to T, plus two casts reserved for the Degas heirs and the founder
Wilhelm Weinberg, Scarsdale, New York; sale, Sothebys, London, 6 July 1957, lot 3.
O'Hana Gallery, London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner on 28 February 1959.
Exh. cat., Exposition des sculptures de Degas, Galerie A.A. Hébrard, Paris, May - June 1921, no. 6 (another cast exhibited).
J. Rewald, Degas, Works in Sculpture, A Complete Catalogue, New York, 1944, no. LV, p. 19 (another cast illustrated p. 35).
L. Browse, Degas Dancers, London, 1949, no. 218 (another cast illustrated).
J. Rewald, Degas Sculpture, The Complete Works, London, 1957, no. LV (another cast illustrated pls. 41-42).
F. Russoli & F. Minervino, L'opera completa di Degas, Milan, 1970, no. S10 (illustrated).
C.W. Millard, The Sculpture of Edgar Degas, Princeton, 1976, no. 89 (another cast illustrated).
J. Rewald, Degas Complete Sculpture, Catalogue Raisonné, San Francisco, 1990, no. LV, p. 46 (the wax version illustrated; another cast illustrated p. 47).
A. Pingeot, Degas, Sculptures, Paris, 1991, no. 9.
S. Campbell, Degas, 'The Sculptures, A Catalogue Raisonné', in Apollo, no. 402, vol. CXLII, August 1995, no. 6, p. 14 (another cast illustrated).
J.S. Czestochowski & A. Pingeot, Degas Sculptures, Catalogue Raisonné of the Bronzes, Memphis, 2002, no. 5, p. 131 (another cast illustrated).
S. Glover Lindsay, D.S. Barbour & S.G. Sturman, Edgar Degas Sculpture, Washington D.C., 2010, p. 368 (the wax version illustrated).
Lausanne, Palais de Beaulieu, Chefs-d'oeuvre des collections suisses, de Manet à Picasso, May - October 1964, no. 26.
Tokyo, Seibu Museum of Art, Exposition Degas, September - November 1976, no. 95; this exhibition later travelled to Kyoto, Museum of the City; and Fukuoka, Cultural Centre.
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Adrienne Dumas
Adrienne Dumas

Lot Essay

Showing a dancer in standing with one leg and one arm thrusting out, Edgar Degas' Danseuse, position de quatrième devant sur la jambe gauche, troisième étude is one of the most intriguing of his sculptural compositions.
This work contains an incredible sense of balance, with the figure resting on one foot while limbs are held out at a perpendicular angle, crested by the left arm which is held high. Degas explored the 'fourth position' in three surviving sculptural compositions, revealing his fascination with its sense of poise and balance. Alongside Danseuse, position de quatriéme devant sur la jambe gauche, troisième étude, another two show a figure who is believed to have been another model, as the proportions of the limbs are markedly different. However, the focus on the rightangles that make Danseuse, position de quatrième devant sur la jambe gauche, troisième étude such an intriguing sight, remain crucial to each of them. Looking at the surface of Danseuse, position de quatrième devant sur la jambe gauche, troisième étude, Degas' own enthusiasm feels almost tangible. Even in the cast bronze, one can see where the artist added wax to the armature that he had originally used as a supporting structure in its creation. In this way, he gradually built up the composition, adding wax and smoothing it out bit by bit, conjuring the form of the dancer. The vigorously-worked surface of Danseuse, position de quatrième devant sur la jambe gauche, troisième etude adds a haptic quality to the sculpture. The presence of these traces of Degas' original gestures, as his hand and tools swept across the original wax maquette over a century ago, lends it a fascinating sense of immediacy, while also heightening its sense of expressiveness. Danseuse, position de quatrième devant sur la jambe gauche, troisième étude shows a dancer in the midst of her ballet, rather than in a stolen moment of preparation. Despite being shown without her tutu, she is clearly assuming a balletic position, her arms and legs held up in a formal moment, rather than the intimate snapshots of so many of Degas' sculptures and images. This moment of supreme balance for the dancer allows Degas to explore the reality of mass in the movement in the ballerinas, a quality that had brought him to sculpture in the first place. Discussing the importance of sculpture to Franois Thiébault-Sisson, Degas said: 'Draw a dancing figure. With a little skill, you should be able to create an illusion for a short time. But however painstakingly you study your adaptation, you will achieve nothing more than an insubstantial silhouette, lacking all notions of mass and of volume and devoid of precision. You will achieve truth only through modelling because this is an art that puts an artist under an obligation to neglect none of the essentials' (Edgar Degas, recorded by F. Thiébault-Sisson, in R. Kendall, Degas by Himself: Drawings, Prints, Paintings, Writings, London, 1987, p. 245).

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