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

Arabesque ouverte sur la jambe droite, le bras gauche en avant

Details
Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Arabesque ouverte sur la jambe droite, le bras gauche en avant
stamped with signature, numbered and stamped with foundry mark 'Degas 1/C CIRE PERDUE A.A. HÉBRARD' (Lugt 658; on the top of the base)
bronze with dark brown patina
113/8in. (28.9cm.) high
The original wax model executed circa 1882-85 and cast in an edition of twenty-two bronze examples between 1919 and 1921, numbered from A to T, plus two casts reserved for the Degas heirs and Hébrard (marked HER and HER.D respectively)
Provenance
Marion and Gustave Ring, Washington, D.C. (until 1986).
Anon. sale, Sotheby's New York, 15 Nov. 1989, lot 34 ($286,000).
Literature
J. Rewald, Degas Works in Sculpture: A Complete Catalogue, New York, 1944, no. XXXVIII (original wax model and another cast illustrated pp. 23 and 93).
J. Rewald, Degas Sculpture, The Complete Works, Zurich, 1957, p. 149, no. XXXVIII (another cast illustrated fig. 15).
C. W. Millard, The Sculpture of Edgar Degas, Princeton, 1976, p. 23 (the wax model illustrated pl. 46).
A. Pingeot, Degas Sculptures, Paris, 1991, no. 1 (another cast illustrated p. 153).
S. Campbell, 'A Catalogue of Degas' Bronzes', Apollo, vol. CXLII, no. 402, August 1995, no. 1 (another cast illustrated p. 11).
Exhibited
Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Selections from the Collection of Marion and Gustave Ring, 1985-1986, no. 13 (illustrated in colour).
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
Sale Room Notice
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Lot Essay

Degas's sculpture seems to have grown out of a desire to fully understand a pose or subject that he had already explored in paintings, pastels or drawings. Whilst it is almost certainly the case that Degas used his wax models for some of his later drawings and paintings, he also seems to have gained much pleasure from the act of modelling wax and clay, for its own sake, and with no view to exhibiting these sculptures in public. 'The only reason I made wax figures of animals and humans was for my own satisfaction', he wrote to a friend (A.
Vollard, Recollections of a Picture Dealer, Boston, 1936, p. 90). The present pose first appears in Degas's work in 1881, and the theme of dance and the ballet came to dominate all aspects of his work for the next ten years. Arabesque ouverte sur la jambe droite, le bras gauche en avant was originally conceived in wax around 1882-3, and as such is one of the earliest of Degas's sculptures on this theme.
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