Pardon our dust while we update this corner of the website.

The Ballet Class

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, French, 1834 - 1917

Made in France, Europe


Oil on canvas

32 3/8 × 30 1/4 inches (82.2 × 76.8 cm) Framed: 41 1/2 × 39 5/8 × 2 5/8 inches (105.4 × 100.6 × 6.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 252, European Art 1850-1900, second floor (Toll Gallery)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1937

Social Tags

ballerina [x]   ballet [x]   ballet lesson [x]   edgar degas [x]   reading [x]  

[Add Your Own Tags]

In this everyday scene from backstage at the Paris Opéra, a ballet instructor observes two young dancers while a mother sits reading in the foreground. Degas spent a great deal of time in the corridors and rehearsal rooms of the Opéra, where he would have seen mothers like this one managing their young daughters' careers. Girls began official ballet classes at age seven or eight in hopes of becoming premiere dancers by their late teens.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.