Project for Portraits in a Frieze – Three Women (1879) by Edgar Degas

Project for Portraits in a Frieze - Three Women - Edgar Degas - 1879

Artwork Information

TitleProject for Portraits in a Frieze - Three Women
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Project for Portraits in a Frieze - Three Women

“Project for Portraits in a Frieze – Three Women” is a sketch and study by Edgar Degas dated to 1879. This artwork, classified under the Impressionist movement, showcases Degas’s interest in capturing figures in everyday settings. The piece is currently held in a private collection, and it is a testament to Degas’s skill in portraying the female form and his exploration of unconventional compositions within the context of Impressionist art.

The artwork features three women in a frieze-like arrangement, with each figure depicted in a different pose and attire, signifying varied moments or movements. The woman on the left stands with her hands clasped in front of her, dressed in a long outfit with vertical stripes and a hat that seems to sit somewhat loosely on her head. Her posture and facial expression suggest a relaxed or contemplative state.

The central figure is seated, slightly turned away from the viewer, wearing a dark dress with a hat that includes a pop of orange, possibly indicating a flower or ribbon. She holds an object loosely in her right hand while her left hand rests on what appears to be a stick or umbrella.

The woman on the right is portrayed in profile, walking towards the right side of the frame. She is dressed in a deep black jacket with a white underskirt, which is highlighted with swift, sketch-like strokes. She dons a wide-brimmed hat, giving an air of elegance and motion to the depiction.

The overall style of the drawing is loose and expressive, typical of Degas’s sketches, where he would often capture the essence of his subjects quickly and with a sense of immediacy. This work provides insight into Degas’s process and his interest in the dynamics of the human figure. The use of light and shadow, as well as the economy of line, is evident, all contributing to the Impressionist aim of conveying a fleeting impression of a moment in time.

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