Edgar Degas: Dancer in the Role of Harlequin Sculpture


Our splendid reproduction celebrates a direct lineage to the work of Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917). It was carefully made from a 1920 bronze in The Met collection, which itself was cast from an original figure modeled about 1884–85 by Degas’s own hand. This model was among 150 small-scale sculptures of wax, clay, and plastiline found in the artist’s studio after his death.
Degas created these figures as a private means of exploring subjects that fascinated him—dancers, bathers, racehorses—while investigating the movement of the body, as seen in this lithe ballet dancer. Authorized by the sculptor’s heirs, a posthumous series of bronze editions was cast in Paris from 72 of these small figures, completed before May 1921. Of the first A edition, all but two are in The Met, which houses one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of Degas’s work.