Dancer with a Fan (1879) by Edgar Degas

Dancer with a Fan - Edgar Degas - 1879

Artwork Information

TitleDancer with a Fan
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Dancer with a Fan

The artwork titled “Dancer with a Fan”, created in 1879 by Edgar Degas, is an exemplary piece rendered in pastel, which showcases the artist’s proficiency in the medium. As a prominent figure within the Impressionist movement, Degas’ work often captures moments from daily life, typically incorporating dance as a recurring theme in his genre paintings. This particular work belongs to a private collection and reflects the distinctive characteristics of Impressionist art, such as the depiction of light and movement, as well as a candid representation of the subject.

The artwork portrays a young dancer in a ballet scene. She is positioned in three-quarter profile turned to the right, with her head slightly downcast, possibly in a moment of rest or introspection. Her white ballet dress, with hints of blue in the ribbons and a fluffy tutu, appears soft and textured, reflecting Degas’ deft use of pastels to create tactile surfaces. In her hands, she delicately holds an open fan, featuring a design that suggests a floral or decorative pattern. The overall palette consists of muted tones, with a harmonious interplay of lights and shadows contributing to the sense of depth and volume.

The backdrop appears minimalistic with warm tones, drawing the viewer’s focus to the figure of the dancer. The floor, with its soft brushstrokes and shading, gives an impression of a wooden dance studio floor. The dancer’s form is rendered with an economy of line yet captures an elegant grace, indicative of the artist’s intimate understanding of the dancer’s body and movement. This pastel work embodies the essence of Impressionism through its loose, expressive strokes and a snapshot-like capture of a fleeting moment.

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