Entrance of the Masked Dancers

Unlike many of Degas’s ballet scenes, which combine details from sketches made at different times, this pastel relates to a specific production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni . The viewpoint is that of an abonné, a subscriber with privileged access, like the top-hatted gentleman on the far side of the stage. As two weary dancers leave the stage, masked ballerinas take their place. The bold composition and vibrant colors evoke the immediacy of a live performance, though the pastel was almost certainly made in Degas’s studio.

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas

French, 1834–1917

Entrance of the Masked Dancers

c. 1879

Pastel on gray wove paper

19 5/16 x 25 1/2 in. (49 x 64.8 cm) Frame: 27 13/16 x 34 1/16 x 3 1/4 in. (70.6 x 86.5 x 8.3 cm)

Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1927