Edgar Degas (1834–1917): A Centenary Tribute, Part 2—Exploring Degas’s Process in "Ballet Scene," a Late Pastel on Tracing Paper
Michelle Facini, conservator of paper, National Gallery of Art, and Kathryn A. Dooley, research scientist, scientific research department, National Gallery of Art. Dedicated to Edgar Degas (1834–1917) in the centennial year of his death, Volume 3 of the conservation division's biennial journal Facture: Conservation, Science, Art History focuses on the tremendous wealth of works by Degas in the National Gallery of Art collection. The first to feature the work of a single artist, this issue includes essays by conservators, scientists, and curators. It presents insights into Degas's working methods in painting, sculpture in wax and bronze, and works on paper, as well as a sonnet he wrote to his "little dancer." The Gallery has the third largest collection in the world of work by Degas, comprising 21 paintings, 65 sculptures, 34 drawings, 40 prints, 2 copper plates, and 1 volume of soft-ground etchings. Its extensive Degas holdings and conservation resources have inspired not only groundbreaking Gallery exhibitions—such as Degas, the Dancers (1984), Degas at the Races (1998), Degas's Little Dancer (2014), and Degas/Cassatt (2014)—but also exhibitions around the world. For the public symposium held as a centenary tribute on September 22, 2017, Kathryn A. Dooley and Michelle Facini shared their intensive study of Degas's late pastel Ballet Scene (c. 1907) that revealed his innovative use of tracing paper, charcoal, pastel, and fixative to create original effects.