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Dancers in Pink

Dancers in Pink, c. 1886

Edgar Degas
French, 1834-1917
Pastel on paper, mounted on cardboard
28-1/2 x 15-1/4 in. (72.4 x 38.7 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

This picture is a pure pastel, whose range of textures—from gleaming silk to airy tulle to powdery, gas-lit flesh—Degas seems to have achieved without wetting or mixing media. Two corps de ballet dancers, peculiarly anonymous in their matching costumes and poses, turn “upstage,” away from an imaginary audience beyond the picture plane. Although these women might at first seem caught unawares, like Degas’s many bathers, the elegant artifice of their movements and attire reminds us that this is a performance staged for our enjoyment.

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