Head of a Woman Resting on One Hand

modeled about 1885–88, cast in bronze after 1919
Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)

Object Place: Europe, France


Overall: 9.5 x 17.8 x 16.5 cm (3 3/4 x 7 x 6 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Metal; bronze

Not On View





Bronze. Left eye closed, rough texture, indentation at hair-line. Bar holds it above black marble base. Signed at edge below right ear, caster’s seal at back edge.

This intimate study includes the figure’s left hand, making the resting posture more naturalistic. The gesture of head resting on hand is traditionally associated with weariness as well as with melancholy and contemplation. Here, the sitter appears vulnerable, perhaps because she seems unaware that she is being observed. The head probably records the features of Périe Bartholomé, wife of painter and sculptor Albert Bartholomé.


March 12, 1926, sold by A. A. Hébrard et Cie, Paris, to Quincy Adams Shaw McKean (b. 1891 - d. 1971), Boston [see note 1]; by descent to his wife, Margarett Williams Sargent McKean (b. 1892 - d. 1978), Boston; 1979, bequest of Margarett Williams Sargent McKean to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 17, 1979)

[1] According to notes, in which his name is given as "M. Shaw Mac Keen", from the Hébrard archives, published in Anne Pingeot's Degas Sculptures (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale Éditions/Reunion des musées nationaux, 1991). In 1918 Hébrard signed a contract with the heirs of Edgar Degas to produce and sell bronze castings of the artist's sculptures.

Credit Line

Bequest of Margarett Sargent McKean