barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917)

Mademoiselle Malo

Paris, the early 1870s

Pastel on paper

522 X 411 MM


Mademoiselle Malo has not been conclusively identified, but apparently she was a dancer at the Paris Opéra. 

Degas began to use pastel for portrait studies in the 1870s and this fine example is one of the earliest.  Degas appreciated the qualities of suggestiveness and spontaneity which can be achieved in the medium.  This can be seen here in the contrasting effects of the delicate modelling in the face and the rougher textures of the dress.  The study was used as the basis for a larger portrait in oil.

Purchased 1949 (No.49.12)

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