National Gallery of Art: Art for the Nation Edgar Degas' signature  
A Dance PortfolioThe Little Fourteen-Year-Old DancerThe Dancing LifeThe Painting
Edgar Degas' signature Previous page Next page
The Dance Lesson Edgar Degas  
       
Edgar Degas, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen--wax statuette, 1879-1881, yellow wax, hair, ribbon, linen bodice, satin shoes, muslin tutu, wood base, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon 1999.80.28
The Little
Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer


Meet Marie van Goethem. The daughter of a Parisian laundress and tailor, Marie was one of the ballet "rats" at the Paris Opera. For Degas, Marie represented the tension inherent in the life of the young dancer, displaying both the awkwardness of youth and the graceful promise of a great ballerina. Here, in Degas’ famous wax sculpture, she stands posed in a relaxed fourth position, her back arched, belly forward, hands clasped tightly behind her back.


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