Edgar Degas - Three Dancers 1898

Three Dancers 1898
Three Dancers
1898 90x85cm pastel on paper
Ordrupgaard Collection, Copenhagen, Denmark

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From Ordrupgaard Collection:
Degas was a pastel painter par excellence. Especially in his later work, which this is an example of, he explored the pastel crayon technique. He put many layers of colour on top of each other and varied his brush strokes to create the most incredible effects that in many ways can be said to anticipate abstract art.
The dancer motif was one of Degas’ favourites. In this picture it was not so much the narrative of the actual dancing or the individual dancers that he was interested in. Rather, his narrative was to be found in the explosive sensation of colour and the different structures he discovered in the surfaces. The dancers pose, but as figures they are absorbed by the intensity of the colours and by Degas’ abstract technique, and the stage – or the audience – in the background has become a purely imaginative pastel landscape.