The singer Theresa (Emma Valadon) was a prominent cabaret singer in Paris and a frequent model for Degas. This lithograph, produced by the transfer process, closely follows the monotype with pastel, formerly in the Havemeyer Collection. Unlike the reproductive Thornley transfer lithograph of the same subject, Degas has eliminated the detail of the background and used an altogether freer drawing style, reducing the lighting to globes suspended in darkness. This gives more prominence to the figure of the singer, underlit by limelight, who stands isolated in characteristic pose.
With its heavy reliance on the monotype original, this print is considered to be the artist's first lithograph. It seems likely that given the difference in scale, Degas worked from a photograph of the monotype, rather than from the original monotype itself, in order to produce the drawing on transfer paper. This was then used in his production of the lithograph.
Reed and Shapiro record six impressions of the subject as follows:
Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Mass. (Atelier)
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Art Institute of Chicago
The present example (Alexis Rouart)