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The Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen, 1878-1881 (detail)

The sculpture of Edgar Degas

The Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen, 1878-1881 (detail)

The exhibition presents, for the first time in Israel, Edgar Degas’ (1834–1917) 74 sculptures in bronze. The bronzes were cast from previously unknown lifetime plasters made directly from Degas’ original waxes, with the artist’s knowledge and consent. The plaster of Degas’ most important sculpture, “The Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen,” was discovered in 2001, leading to the 2004 discovery of the other 73 plasters. Degas worked in various artistic media: oils and pastels, etchings and photography, painting on monotype plates and sculptures in wax, as well as writing poetry. He exhibited only one sculpture in his lifetime: “The Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen” – a realistic wax sculpture which he dressed in real clothes. This unusual work was presented at the 1881 sixth Impressionist exhibition in Paris, arousing much curiosity and criticism. It is well documented that every Degas bronze was cast after the artist’s death. His sculptures focus on five main themes, presented here as five chapters: dancers, dancers backstage, bathing women, heads and horses.

All the bronzes are on loan courtesy of The Degas Sculpture Project, Ltd., whose curators are Walter Maibaum and Carol Conn; exhibition and catalogue courtesy of M.T. Abraham Center for the Visual Arts, with the assistance of: Dr. Alex Rosenberg; The French Committee of Friends of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; the French Embassy in Israel; and The French Institute.

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