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Edgar Degas, French, 1834 - 1917, Study in the Nude of Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (Nude Little Dancer), original wax c. 1878-1881, cast 1920/1926

Inside Look: Little Dancer Aged Fourteen

Daphne Barbour, senior conservator, department of object conservation, National Gallery of Art; Alison Luchs, curator of early European sculpture, National Gallery of Art; and Shelley Sturman, senior conservator and head, department of object conservation, National Gallery of Art. Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (1878–1881), Edgar Degas’s groundbreaking statuette of a young ballerina that caused a sensation at the 1881 impressionist exhibition, takes center stage in a National Gallery of Art exhibition titled Degas’s Little Dancer. On view from October 5, 2014-February 8, 2015, the exhibition explores Degas’s fascination with ballet and his experimental, modern approach to his work. It is presented in conjunction with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ world-premiere musical Little Dancer. In this lecture program recorded on November 23, 2014, Daphne Barbour, Alison Luchs, and Shelley Sturman examine this statuette, the only sculpture the artist exhibited during his lifetime. Luchs considers Degas’s fascination with Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and its model, Marie van Goethemwith reference to Degas’s ballet imagery and relatively little-studied poetry; Sturman reveals the methods by which Degas created this revolutionary work; and Barbour examines Study in the Nude of the Little Dancer and its puzzling relationship to the dressed statuette that appeared