"Portraiture was as important for Degas as landscape for the Impressionists with whom he had associated. Portraits constitute more than half Degas' entire output during the first 20 years of his career and a third of his whole oeuvre. Considering that Degas had independent means and these portraits, mostly of friends, were not done to earn money, it is evident that portraiture was a means of artistic experiment for him, and an important element of his search for a 'modern' art. As he himself put it, he wanted to transform 'a character head into a study of modern sensibility.' His portraits, whether of his family, of his friends, of himself, of Paris celebrities, are both fresh and monumental, some seeming as ageless as ancient Roman portraits, others as elegant as a Bronzino or as tormented as a Munch" (F. Baumann, Degas Portraits, London, 1994, n.p.).