Prints & Drawings - 2 of 9

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The Entrance of the Masked Dancers by Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas

Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas
French, 1834-1917
The Entrance of the Masked Dancers
c. 1884
Pastel on paper
49 x 64.7 cm
Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1927

Edgar Degas rarely portrayed recognizable theatrical productions. Most of his ballet scenes were composed of diverse elements extracted and combined from a multitude of unrelated sketches made in the rehearsal rooms and stages of the Paris Opéra. Nevertheless, the subject of The Entrance of the Masked Dancers is believed to be taken from Mozart's opera Don Giovanni. Barely noticeable across the stage is an abonné, one of the subscribers to the Paris Opéra, who had freedom of access backstage. His somewhat sinister, stiff form and his evening dress offer a stark contrast to the mobile young dancers in colorful costume.