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Little Dancer of Fourteen Years

Edgar Degas, French, 1834–1917
c.1880, cast c.1920
Bronze, gauze, and satin
Made in
Paris, Île-de-France, Western Europe, France, Europe
Metalwork, sculpture
Current Location
On View, Gallery 217
38 1/2 x 16 1/4 x 13 3/4 in. (97.8 x 41.3 x 34.9 cm)
Credit Line
Funds given by Mrs. Mark C. Steinberg
Public Domain
Object Number
This work is one of many posthumous bronze casts completed after a wax sculpture displayed at the sixth Impressionist exhibition in 1881.The wax figure was the only sculpture that Edgar Degas showed during his lifetime. Degas meticulously created the form of the teenage ballet dancer Marie van Goethem with chin raised and eyes half-closed. The naturalism of the figure was enhanced by the artist’s use of real materials including a muslin dress and satin bow. The stark realism of Degas’ treatment caused the girl’s facial features to be caricatured by critics at the time as “monkey-like.”
c.1920 -
A. A. Hébrard, Paris, France [1]

- 1957
M. Knoedler & Co., New York, NY, USA [2]

1957 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from M. Knoedler & Co. [3]

[1] A. A. Hébrard had an arrangement with Degas's heirs to oversee the posthumous casting of Degas's sculptures, including "Little Dancer of Fourteen Years," into bronze. The arrangement involved making casts for Hébrard himself, for the heirs, and another set for sale [Millard, Charles W. "The Sculpture of Edgard Degas." Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976].

[2] Invoice from M. Knoedler & Co. dated January 3, 1957 [SLAM document files].

[3] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control and the Advisory Committee of the City Art Museum, December 13, 1956.
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