- Edgar Degas
- Grande arabesque, troisième temps
Inscribed with the signature Degas, with the foundry mark A. A. Hébrard cire perdue and numbered 60/C
- 17 1/2 by 22 in.
- 44.5 by 55.9 cm
O'Hana Gallery, London (by 1962)
Marlborough Fine Art, London (by 1962)
Private Collection, Philadelphia (1962 and until 1977)
Sydney N. Shoenberg, Saint Louis (in 1977)
William Kennedy, New York
Nathan and Marion Smooke, New York (acquired from the above in 1977 and sold: Phillips, New York, November 5, 2001, lot 63)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
John Rewald, Degas, Works in Sculpture, A Complete Catalogue, New York, 1944, no. XXXIX, illustration of another cast p. 94
John Rewald, L'Oeuvre sculpté de Degas, Zürich, 1957, no. XXXIX, illustrations of another cast pl. 44 and p. 153
Franco Russoli & Fiorella Minervino, L'Opera Completa di Degas, Milan, 1970, no. S8, illustration of another cast p. 140
Charles W. Millard, The Sculpture of Edgar Degas, Princeton, 1976, listed p. 35
The Complete Sculptures of Degas (exhibition catalogue), The Lefevre Gallery, London, 1976, no. 7, illustration of another cast p. 26
Degas (exhibition catalogue), Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, 1988, Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, Ottawa; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1988-89, no. 372, illustration of another cast p. 586 (titled Arabesque penchée and Danseuse, grande arabesque, Troisième temps (première étude).
John Rewald, Degas's Complete Sculpture, San Francisco, 1990, no. XXXIX, illustrations of the wax and bronze versions pp. 116-118
Anne Pingeot, Degas Sculpture, Paris, 1991, no. 8, illustration of another cast p. 156
Sara Campbell, "Degas, The Sculptures, A Catalogue Raisonné," Apollo, London, August 1995, no. 60C, fig. 58, illustration of another cast p. 40
Joseph S. Czestochowski and Anne Pingeot, Degas Sculptures, Catalogue raisonné of the Bronzes, New York, 2002, no. 60C, illustration of another cast p. 239
Degas experimented with rendering the form of the dancer in various poses. By and large, the three-dimensional medium of sculpture offered him the most possibilities for capturing the grace and beauty of these figures and for exploring the seemingly boundless flexibility of their bodies. For the present work, the artist has rendered the dancer posing with her left leg extended backwards and at a oblique angle to the ground and her right arm extending forwards, counterbalancing her weight. This position, known as an arabesque, is one of the most animated poses of the ballet, and was commonly depicted in Degas' paintings, drawings and pastels, in addition to several sculptural renderings. The present sculpture is the final of three related versions of this subject and one of his most expressive figural compositions. It has also been referenced by its varient titles, Arabesque penchée and Danseuse, Grande arabesque, Troisième temps (première étude).
Jill De Vonyar and Richard Kendall have written about the significance of the arabesque in 19th century classical dance and the formal complexity that it offered the sculptor: "An unpublished treatise written between 1868 and 1871 by the Opéra instructor Léopold Adice, Grammaire et Théorie choréographique..., makes it clear that the bent knee was actively promoted. Adice's manuscript was extensively illustrated by himself, and as Sandra Noll Hammond has noted, in his drawings of high arabesques, 'the raised leg is always shown as though with a slightly relaxed knee.' In this context, we should note that Degas' sensitively modeled, lyrical figure is represented in the nude, allowing him to give full articulation to the currently preferred pose and, incidentally, to reveal the true shape of his uncorseted model" (Jill De Vonyar and Richard Kendall, Degas and the Dance (exhibition catalogue), The Detroit Institute of Arts; The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2002-03, p. 153).