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Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas

French, 1834–1917


c. 1857–58

Degas made nearly forty self-portraits between 1854 and 1864. During this period, he traveled extensively in Italy, studying Old Master paintings and developing his own style. The artist approached self-portraits as a platform for experimentation and most remained in his studio until his death. In this image, Degas presents himself in a striking hat, white painting smock, and orange cravat. The delicate modeling of the face, much of which is in shadow, contrasts with the unpainted area in the bottom left corner.

Medium Oil on paper, mounted on canvas
Dimensions 10 1/4 x 7 1/2 in. (26 x 19.1 cm) Frame: 16 3/8 × 13 3/4 × 3 3/4 in. (41.6 × 34.9 × 9.5 cm)
Object Number 1955.544
Acquisition Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1948
Status On View

Image Caption

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, Self-Portrait, c. 1857–58, Oil on paper, mounted on canvas. The Clark Art Institute, 1955.544.


Dumas, Ann. Degas and the Italians in Paris. Exhibition catalogue. Edinburgh: National Gallery of Scotland, 2003. Lees, Sarah, ed. Nineteenth-Century European Paintings at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute; New Haven and London: distributed by Yale University Press, 2012.


Marcel Guérin, Paris (d. 1948); Daniel Guérin, Paris, his son, by descent, sold to Durand-Ruel, 20 April 1948; [Durand-Ruel, New York, sold to Clark, 20 April 1948, as Portrait de Degas au chapeau mou]¹; Robert Sterling Clark (1948–55); Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1955.

1. The invoice is dated 16 April 1948; payment was received on 20 April 1948.