This lithograph was produced by Degas presumably under commission by the Havilland Porcelain Company. The company was founded by Charles Havilland in 1873 and had an artistic studio run by Felix Bracquemond who was a close friend and collaborator of Degas. The signature and inscription may indicate that the lithograph was produced as a design for porcelain. It seems that certain elements were appropriated by painters in the factory.
As with Woman with a Fan (see previous lot), the subject treated is that of two members of the corps de ballet but in this case the observer is not another woman but rather the top-hatted figure of a 'Stage Door Johnnie.' His presence seems to be the cause for some debate between the dancers.
Largely produced using the tranfer process, the right hand side of the composition which extends the transfer was worked directly onto the plate. There is the indication of another dancer in the triangular element which intrudes from the right. There is also extensive evidence of the use of a scraping tool on the stone.
Reed and Shapiro record five impressions of the subject as follows:
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris
The present example (A. Barrion)