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Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas

French, 1834–1917

Little Dancer Aged Fourteen

modeled 1879–81, cast 1919–21

When Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen was first exhibited at the 1881 Impressionist exhibition—modeled in wax, with a real tutu and real hair—reaction was mixed. The figure’s awkward limbs and inscrutable expression seemed at odds with the traditional image of the elegant ballerina. Some critics called the sculpture “hideously ugly,” while others applauded its realism. This bronze was cast from the wax original after Degas’s death.

Medium Bronze with gauze tutu and silk ribbon, on wooden base
Dimensions Height: 39 in. (99 cm)
Object Number 1955.45
Acquisition Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, probably in the 1920s
Status On View

Image Caption

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, modeled 1879–81, cast 1919–21, Bronze with gauze tutu and silk ribbon, on wooden base. The Clark Art Institute, 1955.45.

Provenance

Robert Sterling Clark (probably in the 1920s–1955); Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1955.

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