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Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer

La petite danseuse de quatorze ans

French
original model 1878–81, cast after 1921
Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)


Object Place: Europe, France

Dimensions

Total height: 103.7 cm; Height of Figure: 98 cm; Height of base: 5.7 cm; width of base 45.5 cm; depth of base: 46.5 cm

Accession Number

38.1756

Medium or Technique

Bronze, gauze and satin

On View

Sidney and Esther Rabb Gallery (Gallery 255)

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Sculpture

This is Degas’s largest surviving sculpture and the only one he titled and exhibited. The original wax version, a portrait of a young Belgian dancer named Marie van Goethem, was shown at the 1881 Impressionist exhibition in Paris. The wax was tinted to resemble flesh, she wore a wig of real hair, and was dressed in pink slippers and bodice in addition to a skirt and ribbon similar to those on this cast. The excessive naturalism of the work offended many viewers, but the critic J.-K. Huysmans called it “the only really modern attempt that I know in sculpture.”

Provenance

Possibly Jeanne Févre, Nice, France [see note 1]. 1938, Marie Harriman Gallery, New York; 1938, sold by Harriman Gallery to the MFA for $3400. (Accession Date: December 8, 1938) NOTES: [1] Mlle. Févre was Degas's niece; this information comes from notes in the MFA curatorial file but has not been verified.

Credit Line

Frederick Brown Fund and Contributions from William Claflin and William Emerson