Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen
Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, French, 1834 - 1917. Bronze cast by the foundry Adrien Hébrard, Paris.
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Degas depicted young ballet dancers--in performances, at rehearsals, or at moments of exhausted rest--in numerous paintings, drawings, pastels, and monotypes. In 1878, he added sculpture to his investigation of the theme. A young dancer named Marie van Goethem posed for what would be the only sculpture that Degas exhibited in his lifetime. Originally executed in wax and shown in 1881, the work daringly incorporated real elements such as the dancer's tulle tutu and silk hair ribbon. The sculpture was cast in bronze around 1922, several years after Degas's death.