Woman Seated on a Canape (1868 – 1872) by Edgar Degas

Woman Seated on a Canape - Edgar Degas - 1868 - 1872

Artwork Information

TitleWoman Seated on a Canape
ArtistEdgar Degas
Date1868 - 1872
Dimensions45.7 x 37.2 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Woman Seated on a Canape

The artwork “Woman Seated on a Canape” was created by Edgar Degas between 1868 and 1872, embodying the Impressionist art movement. The medium for this piece is oil on panel, and it measures 45.7 cm in height and 37.2 cm in width. This portrait belongs to a private collection and showcases Degas’ unique approach to capturing the essence of the subject.

The artwork depicts a woman seated on a sofa, also referred to as a canapé. The subject is positioned in a relaxed, casual pose, leaning back into the plush seating with one arm casually draped over the back of the sofa. The brushstrokes are loose and expressive, indicative of the Impressionist style that emphasizes the play of light and color over strict realism. Degas has used a palette that complements the somber mood of the portrait, with dark tones dominating the composition save for the flashes of color on the subject’s attire, which add vibrancy to the scene. The background is executed with rough, rapid strokes, creating a sense of atmospheric depth that focuses the viewer’s attention on the figure.

Facial features are articulated with a softness that characterizes Degas’ portraiture, capturing a thoughtful or introspective mood. The artwork communicates a combination of elegance and informality, a duality that Degas conveys through his expert handling of light, shadow, and gestural brushwork. The significance of this work lies in its ability to convey personality and mood through its impressionistic treatment, highlighting Degas’ mastery in portraiture within the context of the wider Impressionist movement.

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