Head of a Woman (Mlle Salle)

modeled in 1892, cast in bronze after 1919
Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)

Object Place: Europe, France


Overall (without base): 25.5 x 15.3 x 19.2 cm (10 1/16 x 6 x 7 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Metal; bronze

Not On View





This portrait represents Mathilde Salle, a well-known performer in the Paris Opera ballet, who posed for Degas in 1892. Degas produced many small sculptures in wax for his own use, including dancers, bathers and horses as well as some portrait heads like this one. After his death, the best preserved of these waxes were repaired and cast in bronze; from the bronzes a limited number of casts were made. Degas himself was reluctant to cast his works in bronze, a medium he described as “for eternity.”


After 1919, cast by A. A. Hébrard and consigned to Walther Halvorsen (b. 1887 - d. 1972), Paris and London [see note 1]. 1922, Durand-Ruel, New York. 1925, Ferargil Galleries, New York. By 1962, Margarett Sargent McKean (b. 1892 - d. 1978), Boston; 1979, bequest of Margarett Sargent McKean to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 17, 1979)

[1] Information about the provenance (before 1962) is taken from Sara Campbell, "A catalogue of Degas' bronzes," Apollo 142, no. 402 (August, 1995): 24, no. 27B.

Credit Line

Bequest of Margarett Sargent McKean