The Dancers, 1898
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Wed, 03/02/2022 – 11:36
Pastel on paper on board
Partial, fractional and promised gift of Janice and Henri Lazarof
Edgar Degas haunted the Paris Opera in its various locations, often focusing his gaze on passing moments behind the scenes. As a season ticket holder, he was one of a band of wealthy patrons given license to roam the wings and backstage areas as the young dancers rehearsed and performed. The composer Charles Gounod was a close friend of Degas, and his work Faust was one of the painter’s favorites. The Paris Opera’s production of Faust opened in 1869 at Le Peletier, a theater Degas frequented, and although the building burned down in 1873, Degas memorialized it in many subsequent paintings. Like Le Peletier in comparison to the Paris Opera’s next home, the opulent Palais Garnier, Faust exuded a natural, impactful sensibility that stood out alongside some of the more opulent ballets of the era.