Study for a Portrait (1904) by Edgar Degas

Study for a Portrait - Edgar Degas - 1904

Artwork Information

TitleStudy for a Portrait
ArtistEdgar Degas
Dimensions110 x 70 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Study for a Portrait

The artwork “Study for a Portrait” by Edgar Degas, created in 1904, is a pastel sketch and study that embodies the characteristics of the Impressionist movement. Measuring 110 by 70 cm, the piece is part of a private collection. As an example of Degas’ extensive oeuvre, this particular study presents viewers with a compelling glimpse into the artist’s process and style.

The artwork captures two figures, presumably in an informal setting. The delineation of forms is accomplished with a delicate yet assured touch, characteristic of Degas’ sketches. The composition implies a casual moment, with the seated figure likely absorbed in contemplation or perhaps fatigue, evidenced by the slight bow of the head and relaxed posture. The standing figure, in contrast, appears attentive and poised, marked by a stately stance and what appears to be a fixed gaze, perhaps directed outside the frame of our view. The use of pastel is evident in the soft gradients and textural quality of the clothing and background, allowing the colors to blend smoothly into each other and create a sense of depth and volume.

The interaction between the two figures is rendered with subtlety, hinting at a narrative or relationship existing beyond what is immediately observable. The background, though minimally detailed, suggests an outdoor setting with what might be the suggestion of foliage or perhaps a patterned backdrop. The overall feeling of the artwork is one of a fleeting moment captured in time, evocative of the Impressionist desire to depict modern life and its transient qualities.

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