An Album of Pencil Sketches

Edgar Degasabout 1877

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

In 1877 Edgar Degas attended weekly soirées at the home of his friend Ludovic Halévy, a writer of opera librettos and popular romances. At these gatherings, Degas drew portraits of his friends and made studies for his own work. He quickly filled this sketchbook with drawings that show his preoccupation with a variety of theatrical themes, including the café-concert and the ballet. When he completed the sketchbook, Degas presented it to his friend, who shared his passion for theater and music. Halévy later added inscriptions to many of the pages--a useful addition for scholars, as they distinguish Degas's contributions from those by other friends who occasionally drew in the book. Halévy inscribed the date 1877 and the words Croquis de Degas (Degas's Sketchbook) on the book's cover.

During his lifetime, Degas filled thirty-eight sketchbooks, using them for a variety of purposes: recording the appearance of a work of art he admired or a person he observed, visualizing a fictional scene he had read, or experimenting with a new idea. For scholars, this important collection of reliably dated documents provides first-hand information on aspects of his working methods.

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  • Title: An Album of Pencil Sketches
  • Creator: Edgar Degas
  • Date: about 1877
  • Physical Dimensions: 24.8 x 33 cm (9 3/4 x 13 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pencil on heavy wove paper
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 95.GD.35
  • Markings: On the inside rear cover is a stationer's label: "À La Palette de Rubens/ Couleurs fines/ Ve de St Martin et Frère/ Papeterie Tableaux/ Rue de Seine 4, Paris"; and the code, "t-c 5F".
  • Inscription: On the front cover, inscribed at the top right, in Halévy's hand, in black ink, "1877", and in the center, "Croquis de Degas" (Sketches by Degas).
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: French
  • Classification: Drawings


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