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Western art

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Dancer looking at the sole of her right foot

cast 1919-1921


Edgar Degas


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


Alternative title

Danseuse regardant la plante de son pied droit


cast 1919-1921

Media category


Materials used

bronze, cire perdu (lost wax)


48.0 cm height

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Bequest of Paul Haefliger 1982


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Edgar Degas

Works in the collection


Shown in 6 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 8 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Five years on: a selection of acquisitions 1981-1986, Sydney, 1986, (illus.). 136

Anthony Bond, Body, 'Embodying the Real', pg. 11-80, Sydney, 1997, 15 (colour illus.), 143,. figure 4, 36

Patricia Failing, ARTnews, 'The Degas bronzes Degas never knew', pg. 38-41, New York, Apr 1979.

Kunstmuseum Bern, Degas, Bern, 1951.

C.W. Millard, The sculpture of Edgar Degas, New Jersey, 1976, 18-19.

Margaret Olley and Barry Humphries, Favourites: Margaret Olley and Barry Humphries choose from public and private collections, Sydney, 2000. Catalogue entry appears in inserted list to printed catalogue

John Rewald, Degas sculpture, the complete works, London, circa 1957, (illus.).

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.