Portrait of a Woman (1878 – 1880) by Edgar Degas

Portrait of a Woman - Edgar Degas - 1878 - 1880

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of a Woman
ArtistEdgar Degas
Date1878 - 1880
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Portrait of a Woman

The artwork titled “Portrait of a Woman” is a testament to the creative prowess of Edgar Degas, an accomplished proponent of the Impressionist movement. Composed between the years of 1878 and 1880, this portrait is rendered in pastel, showcasing Degas’ adroitness with this medium. As with the prevailing ethos of Impressionism, the piece conveys the essence of the subject rather than a scrupulously detailed likeness. The artwork, classified under the genre of portraiture, currently resides within the confines of a private collection.

The artwork presents a woman depicted head-on with a neutral background. Her countenance displays a delicate interplay of light and shadow, as characteristic of Degas’ style, which lends a soft and somewhat ethereal quality to her features. The woman’s attire is suggested rather than intricately defined, with broad strokes in a vibrant red hue that captures the eye and emphasizes her form. Her eyes hold a contemplative expression, gazing directly at the viewer, which is both arresting and subtly enigmatic. The artist has employed a subdued palette overall but utilized touches of brighter color on the lips, cheeks, and in the attire, imbuing the portrait with a sense of vibrancy. The application of pastel allows for a texture that is at once smooth and richly layered, a hallmark of Degas’ technique in his portraiture. The artwork reflects the artist’s unique approach to capturing the human figure, a blend of sophisticated composition and the ephemeral play of light that defines the Impressionist movement.

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