The Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans is a statuette created in wax by Edgar Degas between 1875 and 1880. The sculpture depicts a young ballet student named Marie van Goethem. It was not well received when first exhibited, but has since become one of Degas’ most iconic works.
Numerous bronze casts have been produced following the artist’s death, including one cast in 1927 that is part of Purdue University’s collection. The sculpture is valued at over $21 million, with a market value potentially as high as $52 million. The piece was part of a bequest by Louisine Havemeyer to the museum and is included in a nearly complete set of Degas’ works in bronze.
Currently housed in the Musée d’Orsay, the Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans remains a beloved representation of Degas’ interest in the ballet and his ability to capture the essence of his subjects in his art. It’s a prime example of his technique of combining naturalism with abstraction, which he utilized to create dynamic and emotionally expressive sculptures that reflect the intricacies of ballet and the human form.