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)

Femme sortant du bain, fragment

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Femme sortant du bain, fragment
stamped with the signature 'Degas' (Lugt 658), numbered and stamped with the foundry mark '71/F CIRE PERDUE A.A.HÉBRARD' (on the top of the base)
bronze with dark brown patina
Height: 16½ in. (42 cm.)
Original wax version executed 1896-1911 (Rewald); 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
Galerie Max Kaganovitch, Paris, by 1952.
Paul Ptrids, Paris.
Acquired by the present owner in the 1960s.
J. Rewald, Degas Works in Sculpture, A Complete Catalogue, London, 1944, no. LIX, p. 27 (another cast illustrated pp. 124-125).
J. Rewald & L. von Matt, L'oeuvre sculpté de Degas, Zurich, 1957, no. LIX, p. 157 (another cast illustrated).
F. Russoli & F. Minervino, L'opera Completa di Degas, Milan, 1970, no. S65 (another cast illustrated).
J. Rewald, Degas' Complete Sculpture, Catalogue Raisonné, San Francisco, 1990, no. LIX, pp. 156-157 (another cast illustrated).
Exh. cat., Degas, Pierre Gianadda Foundation, Martigny, 1993, no. S59, p. 270, (another cast illustrated).
S. Campbell, 'Degas, The Sculptures, The Catalogue Raisonné', in Apollo, no. 402, vol. CXLII, August 1995, no. 71, pp. 45-46 (another cast illustrated).
J.S. Czestochowski & A. Pingeot, Degas Sculptures, Catalogue Raisonné of the Bronzes, Memphis, 2002, no. 71, p. 261 (another cast illustrated).
S. Glover Lindsay, D.S. Barbour & S.G. Sturman, Edgar Degas Sculpture, Washington D.C., 2010, p. 371 (another cast illustrated).
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Edgar Degas, February - March 1952, no. 139.
New York, Galerie Chalette, The Sculptures of Edgar Degas, October 1955, no. 19.
Lausanne, Palais de Beaulieu, Chefs-d'oeuvre des collections suisses, de Manet à Picasso, May - October 1964, no. 28.
Tokyo, Seibu Museum of Art, Exposition Degas, September - November 1976, no. 100; this exhibition later travelled to Kyoto, Museum of the City; and Fukuoka, Cultural Centre.
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Adrienne Dumas
Adrienne Dumas

Lot Essay

Edgar Degas' Femme sortant du bain, fragment presents the viewer with an agile figure of a woman, apparently climbing out of her bath, a subject that featured in a number of his best-known pictures. This sculpture is entitled 'fragment' because several of the limbs appear to be missing, as was the case in so many of the ancient sculptures that are known to have inspired Degas. This may have been a deliberate decision on the part of the artist: certainly, in another of his sculptures which has a fragmentary appearance, Femme se frottant le dos avec une éponge, torse, there is evidence of where the artist removed limbs, yet during his own lifetime Degas had cast the resulting figure in plaster, revealing his own clear satisfaction with the composition.
The fragmentary nature of Femme sortant du bain, fragment may reveal the artist's own desire to echo the artefacts of ancient Rome and Greece. At the same time, it may recall some of the oeuvre of Auguste Rodin, who himself sometimes created works that appeared like fragments and yet were considered sculptures in their own right. Certainly, the timelessness of its format belies the modernity of Degas' treatment of the subject and of the sense of movement that it captures. An intriguing parallel might be the linked figures in Henri Matisse's La danse, the two paintings of that title having been completed in 1909 and 1910, around the time that Degas may still have been adding the final touches to this work. Femme sortant du bain, fragment is one of the few bronzes made from Degas' sculptures of which no remaining original is known. Intriguingly, it is also one of the works with the most articulated surface.
This was a characteristic of Degas' more expressive sculptures from the latter part of his career, where his plastic works provided a parallel to his increasingly bold treatments of colour in his pictures. In Femme sortant du bain, fragment , the vigorously-worked surface of the original sculpture has been immortalised in the bronze, allowing us to see the rich contrasts between the smooth areas and those that still feature the troughs and peaks of the artist's workings.
As was the case in many of his pictures from this period and earlier, Degas has clearly focussed on the body and its sense of implied, captured movement rather than the character of the person who was his subject. This emphasises the extent to which this was a study of motion and of the human body, rather than any form of portrait. The face has been depicted in such a way as to give a sense of life, rather than of individual personality, drawing the viewer's attention instead to the nimble movement of the figure itself.

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