Dancer looking at the sole of her right foot
19 Jul 1834 - 27 Sep 1917
Although a founding and exhibiting member of the French Impressionists, Degas' preoccupation with the human figure and his intimate engagement with the minutiae of everyday life set him apart from the aims and methods of the group. "My art" he insisted, "has nothing spontaneous about it, it is all reflection" (Monnier). The distinctive linearity of Degas' work - a product of his classical training - evolved into a dynamic vocabulary of gesture and movement. His 600 or so variations on the theme of ballerinas have been compared to the photographic studies of animal and human locomotion undertaken by Eadweard Muybridge in the 1870s and '80s. Degas' fascination with the moving body was extended and developed through his sculptures, many of them produced as wax sketches and not cast until after his death.
Monnier, G. "Degas" J. Turner, ed. 'The Dictionary of Art' 34 vols. London: Macmillan, 1996
Danseuse regardant la plante de son pied droit
bronze, cire perdu (lost wax)
48.0 cm height
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Bequest of Paul Haefliger 1982
Not on display
Shown in 6 exhibitions
Degas, Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern, 25 Nov 1951–13 Jan 1952
Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Sep 1986–23 Nov 1986
Body, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 Sep 1997–16 Nov 1997
Favourites: Margaret Olley and Barry Humphries choose from Australian collections (2000), S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks, 15 Jan 2000–27 Feb 2000
Monet and the Impressionists:
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 11 Oct 2008–26 Jan 2009
- Te Papa - Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington 14 Feb 2009–17 May 2009
Impressions of Paris: Lautrec, Degas, Daumier, Murray Art Museum Albury, Albury, 11 Dec 2015–31 Jan 2016
Referenced in 8 publications
Anthony Bond, Body, 'Embodying the Real', pg. 11-80, Sydney, 1997, 15 (colour illus.), 143,. figure 4, cat.no. 36
Patricia Failing, ARTnews, 'The Degas bronzes Degas never knew', pg. 38-41, New York, Apr 1979.
Margaret Olley, Favourites: Margaret Olley and Barry Humphries choose from public and private collections, Sydney, 2000. Catalogue entry appears in inserted list to printed catalogue
Greame Sturgeon, Art and Australia, 'Lost and found: a decade of sculpture at the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 74-79, Sydney, Spring 1984, 74-75 (illus.), 78.
Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Sydney, 1986, (illus.). cat.no. 136
The sculpture of Edgar Degas, New Jersey, 1976, 18-19.
Degas sculpture, the complete works, London, circa 1957, (illus.).
Degas, Bern, 1951.