About the Artist
Though he preferred to be called a realist, Edgar Degas (1834–1917) was one of the founders of impressionism, an organizer of the group's exhibitions, and one of its most important core members. He shared with the impressionists an interest in modern life—in Paris' dance halls and cabarets, its racetracks, its opera and ballet stages. But his work was deliberate and controlled, painted in the studio from sketches, notes, and memory. In racehorses and ballet dancers he found the kind of movement that fascinated him most: not free and spontaneous, but precise and disciplined.
This pink tote, featuring a likeness of Degas's Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (1878–1881), is perfect for the little dancer in your life.
Executed in wax and dressed in a ballerina's tutu, the sculpture caused a sensation when it was exhibited in 1881. Modeled in a colored wax and adorned with real hair and a fabric costume, Little Dancer broke with 19th-century academic practice by introducing unusual mixed materials and representing a provocative modern subject. It is the only sculpture Edgar Degas exhibited publicly.
The young dancer stands posed in a casual fourth position, her back arched, belly forward, hands clasped tightly behind her back. For Degas, she represented the tension inherent in the life of the young dancer, displaying both the awkwardness of youth and the graceful promise of a great ballerina.