The Radicalism of the "Little Dancer Aged Fourteen"
Jill DeVonyar, independent curator and former ballet dancer, and Richard Kendall, curator at large, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown. 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 paired lecture recorded on November 16, 2014, Degas specialists Richard Kendall and Jill DeVonyar examine Little Dancer Aged Fourteen by focusing on the relationship between this avant-garde work and its model, Marie van Goethe. Kendall discusses the sculpture’s revolutionary realism, and DeVonyar analyzes its radicalism as an image of the ballet. Kendall and DeVonyar share fresh insight into the artist’s world, his innovative techniques, and his deep knowledge of the ballet.