Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Property from the Collection of Herbert and Adele Klapper
Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

Grande arabesque, premier temps

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Grande arabesque, premier temps
stamped with signature and foundry mark and numbered ‘Degas 18/M A.A. HÉBRARD CIRE PERDUE’ (Lugt 658; on the top of the base)
bronze with brown and green patina
Height: 19 1/8 in. (48.5 cm.)
Original wax model executed 1885-1890; this bronze version cast at a later date in an edition numbered A to T, plus two casts reserved for the Degas heirs and the founder Hébrard, marked HER.D and HER respectively
Stephen Hahn Gallery, New York.
Norton Simon Art Foundation, Pasadena (acquired from the above, 1977); sale, Christie’s, New York, 19 May 1982, lot 11.
Lorraine Pritzker, Chicago (acquired at the above sale); Estate sale, Sotheby’s, London, 26 June 2001, lot 8.
Browse & Darby, London (acquired at the above sale).
Acquired from the above by the late owner, June 2004.
J. Rewald, Degas: Works in Sculpture, A Complete Catalogue, New York, 1944, p. 23, no. XXXV (wax model illustrated, p. 86, and another cast illustrated, p. 87).
J. Rewald and L. von Matt, Degas Sculpture: The Complete Works, New York, 1956, p. 148, no. XXXV (another cast illustrated, pl. 37).
F. Russoli and F. Minervino, L’opera completa di Degas, Milan, 1970, p. 140, no. S.5 (wax model illustrated).
J. Lassaigne and F. Minervino, Tout l’œuvre peint de Degas, Paris, 1974, p. 140, no. S.5 (another cast illustrated).
C.W. Millard, The Sculptures of Edgar Degas, Princeton, 1976, pp. xvi and 24 (wax model illustrated, fig. 87).
M. Guillard, ed., Degas: Form and Space, Paris, 1984, pp. 195-196 (another cast illustrated, fig. 188).
E. Camesasca and G. Cortenova, Degas scultore, Florence, 1986, pp. 117 and 182, no. 18 (another cast illustrated in color, p. 117; wax model and other casts illustrated, p. 182).
A. Pingeot, A. Le Normand-Romain and L. Margerie, Catalogue sommaire illustré des sculptures du Musée d’Orsay, Paris, 1986, pp. 126-127, no. 2069 (another cast illustrated).
J. Rewald, Degas’s Complete Sculpture: Catalogue Raisonné, San Francisco, 1990, pp. 108-109 and 207, no. XXXV (wax model illustrated, p. 108; another cast illustrated, p. 109).
A. Pingeot, Degas Sculptures, Paris, 1991, pp. 154-155, no. 5 (wax model and another cast illustrated).
S. Campbell, “Degas: The Sculptures, A Catalogue Raisonné” in Apollo, August 1995, pp. 19-20, no. 18 (another cast illustrated, fig. 18).
R. Kendall, Degas and the Little Dancer, Baltimore, 1998, p. 175, no. 51 (another cast illustrated).
J.S. Czestochowski and A. Pingeot, Degas Sculptures: Catalogue Raisonné of the Bronzes, Memphis, 2002, pp. 156-157, no. 18 (another cast illustrated in color, p. 156; wax model illustrated, p. 157).
S. Campbell, R. Kendall, D. Barbour and S. Sturman, Degas in the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, 2009, vol. II, pp. 326-329 and 515-516, no. 59 (wax model and another cast illustrated in color, pp. 326-328).
Art Gallery of Alberta, Edgar Degas: Figures in Motion, January-May 2010.
Tampa Museum of Art, Degas: Form, Movement and the Antique, March-June 2011, p. 11 (incorrectly numbered as 16/HER).
Sale room notice
Please note the additional exhibition:
Tampa Museum of Art, Degas: Form, Movement and the Antique, March-June 2011, p. 11 (incorrectly numbered as 16/HER).

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Max Carter
Max Carter

Lot Essay

The dancer in Grande arabesque, premier temps has assumed the stance, from which—arms at the ready for balance—she will lean forward on her right leg, while raising her left leg straight back, to attain the horizontal (or higher) level of the grande arabesque. With her left foot still touching the ground, the position seen here is more precisely described as an arabesque à terre.
The present sculpture represents the initial stage in a sequential, triadic ensemble that Degas carried through in Grande arabesque, deuxième temps and the version designated troisième temps, depicting the moments of near and final realization of the grande arabesque position (Hébrard, nos. 15 and 16; Rewald, nos. XXXVI and XXXIX). Degas appears to have employed the same model, who possessed a well-toned figure, more strongly built than generally found among ballerinas today, for these three similarly scaled sculptures, which he is believed to have modeled during 1885-1890.
“The pose gives this figure a subtle, graceful dynamism and psychological life,” Suzanne Glover Lindsay has written. “Formally it produces an active interplay of masses in space from every angle, especially with the opposition between the dancer’s legs, body and head (to the right), and her shoulders and left arm” (Edgar Degas Sculpture, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2010, p. 204). While Grande arabesque, premier temps has no direct counterpart in Degas’s paintings or drawings, the effect of forward, anticipatory movement is also seen in other sculptures, including Danseuse s’avançant les bras levés, première étude.
Glover observed in the present figure “a balletic analogue to the many famous striding female nudes since antiquity, such as Diana the Huntress (Musée du Louvre)” (ibid.). Degas is reported to have claimed that his dancers “followed the Greek tradition purely and simply, almost all antique statues representing the movement and balance of rhythmic dance” (quoted in J. De Vonyar and R. Kendall, Degas and the Dance, exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2002, p. 235).
Other casts of the present sculpture can be found in public institutions including: The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Norton Simon Art Foundation, Pasadena; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown; Glasgow Museum and Art Gallery; Musée d’Orsay, Paris; NY Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen and Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil.

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