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Impressionist Masterwork by Edgar Degas to be Sold By Sotheby's in November in New York
Sotheby's employee Meghann Farrell from Australia poses for photographs with French artist Edgar Degas' painting 'Danseuse au repos', which shows a young ballet dancer, at the auction house's offices in London, Friday, Oct. 3, 2008. The piece is expected to fetch in excess of USD 40 million (2.90 million euro) in Sotheby's Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on Nov. 3 in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s November 3, 2008 Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York will feature an outstanding group of six works by an artist who is among the most celebrated and loved artists in all art history, Edgar Degas. The collection captures the classic themes of the artist’s oeuvre in a variety of mediums. Chief among them is Danseuse au repos, a pastel and gouache from the acclaimed series of studies of young ballet dancers executed in the 1870s. Other works to be offered include a study of Degas’ renowned Petite danseuse de quatorze ans, as well examples of the artist’s celebrated bathers in both pastel and bronze. Prior to exhibition and sale in New York, many of the works will be shown in London and Moscow.

One of the highlights of the fall season is the preeminent work by Edgar Degas ever to be sold at auction – Danseuse au repos. Completed in 1879, this exquisite pastel and gouache captures the hidden world behind the scenes of the Palais Garnier’s spectacular ballet productions. Remarkable for the great quality of its richly worked surface and the detail of its vision and scope, the present work evidences Degas’ growing interest in portraying ballet dancers away from the spotlight and the stage. In his compositions of the late 1870s and 1880s he goes about capturing them in informal situations, be they warming up at the bar, resting before exercise or, as here, relaxing after the rigors of training. The present work was acquired by a friend of the artist’s in 1885 and remained in this family for more than 100 years before being sold by Sotheby’s London in 1999 for a price which remains the auction record for the artist to this day. It is estimated to sell for more than $40 million.

“This sublime pastel captures the essence of Degas’ work and is a quintessential Impressionist masterpiece,” said Emmanuel Di-Donna, Vice Chairman, Impressionist and Modern Art Worldwide and Head of Sotheby’s Evening Sales, New York.

Mr. Di-Donna continued, “We are fortunate to have gathered a number of key examples of Degas' output ranging from major sculptures to remarkable works in pastel and gouache of his most desirable subjects.”

Le Ballet, executed circa 1885, is a sumptuous pastel which captures the pageantry and inner workings of a production at the Paris ballet in all of its complexity. From a vantage point backstage where a group of dancers chat with each other and a gentleman patron, Degas portrays the troupe making their entrance onto the stage in a unified pirouette. The brightness of his pastels flood the background with color, illuminating the performers as they dance before a live audience. The proximity of Degas to these dancers allowed him to capture them in these informal moments, often revealing the immense artifice and effort that went into staging these elaborate productions at Charles Garnier's palatial opera house. Acquired in the 1930s in Paris by the grandfather of the present owner, Le Ballet is estimated to sell for $7.5/10 million.

The evening sale will also include one of the artist’s most important sculptural works, Le Tub, an audaciously modern composition. Degas studied obsessively the expressive potential of the female nude throughout his career, but in his sculpture he was able to create the form directly with his hands and with limited tools. The artist’s approach to portraying the female body was unlike that of any of his contemporaries; his bathers were provocative and confrontational in a manner that contrasted strongly with the sanctified, academic depictions of the nude in the 1880s. Recognized for its innovative use of found objects and its uncompromising representation of a woman in one of her most intimate moments, Le Tub is estimated to realize $4/6 million.

Another sculpture to be offered, Étude nu pour la danseuse habillée was conceived in 1878-79 and depicts the model who posed for Degas' celebrated sculpture, Petite danseuse de quatorze ans (est. $2.4/3.2 million). The model was Marie van Goethem, who reached her fourteenth birthday on February 17, 1878. She was the daughter of a Belgium laundress and tailor living in Paris, and together with her two sisters she studied ballet at the Opéra, where she subsequently made her debut as a ballerina in 1888. It was there that Degas discovered her, and asked that she pose for this important sculpture.

Femme se coiffant belongs to a group of pastels treating one of Degas' signature themes, that of female figures at their toilette. While he usually portrayed a single female figure in these pastels, in the present work he depicted two women – one combing her hair, and the other leaning against a chair, reading a book. Both girls appear deeply absorbed in their activities and completely unaware of the spectator's gaze, one turned with her back to us, the other with her eyes lowered towards the book she is holding. In his works on the subject of women at their toilette, the artist often depicted them in the process of brushing their hair, as in the present work, or washing and drying various parts of their body, which allowed him to explore unusual contortions of the nude. Femme s'essuyant les cheveux is another example of Degas' pastels depicting a female nude or semi-nude washing or drying herself after a bath (est. $1.2/1.8 million). This impressive picture is a study for a larger composition now in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.





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October 4, 2008

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Miro, Calder, Giacometti, Braque: Aime Maeght And His Artists Opens at Royal Academy of the Arts

Darwin's Garden: An Evolutionary Adventure Opens at The Huntington Library

The Fluidity of Glass - Etsuko Ichikawa: Traces of the Molten State

Hong Kong International Arts and Antiques Fair Opens

Tate St. Ives Presents Heimo Zobernig and the Tate Collection

Christie's Spanish Art Sale in Madrid Totals $7.7 Million

Moderna Museet Presents Time & Place: Los Angeles 1957-1968

The Andy Warhol Museum Opens 1958 Exhibition

American Artists from the Russian Empire Opens

Gallery of the New York School of Interior Design Hosts Two Art Deco-Era Exhibitions

L.A. PAINT Opens at Oakland Museum of California

International Russian Exhibition to Premiere at University of Oklahoma Art Museum

Knoxville Museum of Art Presents American Masterpieces of Southern Craft and Traditional Art

Edinburgh College of Art Opens New Print Workshop With Exhibition

Wild Beauty: Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge, 1867 - 1957

The Many Faces of David Diaz at The Joslyn Art Museum

Art.Fair 21 Opens in Cologne

New Bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Masters Opens at Japan Society

Act/React: Interactive Installation Art Makes its World Premiere at the Milwaukee Art Museum

October 3, 2008

All the Histories of Art: Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna Exhibit at Guggenheim in Bilbao

Nude Portait of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin Unveiled in Chicago

Paris/New York: Design Fashion Culture 1925-1940 Opens

Brooklyn Museum Presents Retrospective of Work By Artists Gilbert & George

Exhibition Celebrates the 125th Anniversary of the Dutch Rembrandt Association

Meijer Gardens Opens Largest Exhibition by Jaume Plensa

Lino Tagliapietra in Retrospect: A Modern Renaissance in Glass (Renwick)

Demuth Museum to Mount Two-Part David Brumbach Exhibition

First Museum Exhibition for Anthony Lepore at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

VMFA Great Hall Is Reinstalled With Focus On 17th Century Age of Magnificence

Treasures from the Garden of Eden: Masterpieces of Ancient Jewelry Opens

Hannah Wilke: Gestures Opens at The Neuberger Museum of Art

John James Audubon: American Artist and Naturalist Opens

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Displays Zen Paintings and Calligraphies From the Gitter-Yellen Collection

Avocats Sans Frontieres Presents "Room for Justice"

Canada's Only Major Modern and Contemporary International Art Fair Returns to Toronto

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden Launches Major Project Researching Provenance

Tony Gill - New Work 2008 Opens at Idea Generation Gallery

George Nakashima's Family Gifts Famed 20th-Century Furniture Designer's Archives

New Museum Announces Stuart Regen Visionaries Fund

October 2, 2008

Joseph Beuys: We are the Revolution Gives Shape to Artist's Large Expanse of Ideas

Princeton University Art Museum Premieres Jasper Johns Exhibition

The Mingei Spirit in Japan From Folk Craft to Design at Musee du Quai Branly

Watercolours from the Stadel Museum Collection on View in Germany

Le Petit Palais in Paris Shows Images and Fashion by Patrick Demarchelier

Zaha Hadid's Portrait in Changing Colors Shown at National Portrait Gallery

Georg Baselitz: Prints 1964 to 1983 to Open at The Alte Pinakothek in Munich

Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art

The 2008 Sovereign European Art Prize Exhibition Opens at the Embankment Galleries

Cartoons & Coronets: The Genius of Osbert Lancaster on View at The Wallace Collection

Serbian-Born Sculptor John David Brcin's Monumental Sculpture Sioux Warrior Realized for Joslyn Art Museum

Le Corbusier - The Art of Architecture Opens at The Crypt in Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Aspen Art Museum Presents Artist Lisa Anne Auerbach's Non-Partisan Political Knit Sweater Exhibition

New Art Trust Names John R. Lane as President and CEO

Make me a Home! The Northsore Development Partnership Launches International Architectural Competition

Arts Leaders Converge on Technology in the Arts from October 9-11, 2008

The New York Transit Museum Presents a Screening and Discussion

RIBA to Launch International Chapters

October 1, 2008

100th Anniversary of Gustav Klimt And The Kunstschau 1908 at Belvedere in Vienna

Musee du Quay Branly Opens a Window onto the Different Eskimo and Inuit Cultures

Factura 2008 the Second International Painting Festival of Villefranche de Lonchat Set to Open

Bob Dylan - The Drawn Blank Series Takes to the Road with International Exhibition Tour

Christie's Auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art to Offer Exceptional Works

Five Museums and Five Libraries to Receive Nation's Highest Honor at White House Ceremony

Renzo Piano to Receive the Sonning Prize 2008 at the Ceremonial Hall at University of Copenhagen

Roger M. Buergel Appointed Chief Curator of Miami Art Museum

The Holburne Portrait Prize Finalists on View at Holburne Museum of Art

Casa Asia in Barcelona Presents Rong Rong & inri: The Power of Ruins

Detroit Institute of Arts Opens Jane Hammond Exhibition

Young Belgian Painters Award 2009 Selects Seven Candidates

Huntington Expands Collections Strategically, Acquiring Eight Works of Art

Cue Art Foundation Presents Jim Pirtle Curated by the Art Guys

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Symposiun: Disruptions: The Political in Art Now

California Sculptor Peter Schifrin Creates Monumental Sculpture for Upstate New York Estate

Fuller Craft Museum to Host Community Day to Ready for the Perfect Fit

September 30, 2008

Still Life Exhibition From the Prado Museum Opens at Caja Inmaculada in Zaragoza

Lynda and Stewart Resnick Donate $55 Million to LACMA

Important November Russian Art Auction Announced at Gene Shapiro Auctions LLC

Christie's to Offer an Exceptional Auction of International Modern and Contemporary Art in Dubai

SBMA Celebrates Decade of Photography Acquisitions

Turn and Widen: 5th Seoul International Media Art Biennale

Sotheby's London to Hold Inaugural Sale of Modern and Contemporary Design in October

"Water Planet" Showcases Connection Between Water and Life

Christie's to Offer Fine Chinese Art From the Arthur M. Sackler Collections in March 2009

Danish Filmmaker Jesper Just has U.S. Premiere at Brooklyn Museum

Treasures from the British Museum Going to Royal BC Museum

Miyako Ishiuchi - Photographs 1976 - 2005 at FOAM Fotografiemuseum

Tacoma Art Museum Announces the 9th Northwest Biennial Participants

South Street Seaport Museum Exhibition Explores Roosevelt's Passion for Collecting and the Allure of the Sea

September 29, 2008

Renzo Piano's California Academy of Sciences Opened in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park

Group of Leonardo Drawings Shown for the First Time in U.S.

Emil Nolde Exhibition Opens at the Grand Palais in Paris

Artists Included in Turner Prize Shortlist to Show Their Work at Tate Britain

Kunsthaus Zürich Presents Rivoluzione! Italian Modernism from

The Cleveland Museum of Art Announces Three Significant Additions to its Celebrated Collection

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Contemporary Arts Center Presents Austrian Painter Maria Lassnig's First Exhibition in the U.S.

The Studio at The Herbert Art Gallery to Show The World of Apu

Arts of the Islamic World: Sotheby's to Sell Rare Treasures

Blanton Museum of Art Presents The New York Graphic Workshop, 1964 - 1970

Oskar Kokoschka Exhibition in Compton Verney

Exhibition on 19th Century American Presidential Campaign Art Opens at Fenimore Art Museum

Four Kings: A Special Installation at the National Portrait Gallery

Williams Family Presents Major Gift of Western American Paintings To the Cincinnati Art Museum

Mark Dion Is the 2008 Winner of Smithsonian American Art Museum's Annual Contemporary Artist Award

International Sxulpture Center Opens 2008 Membership Conference This Week

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Greece holds breath as skeleton found in Alexander the Great-era tomb at Amphipolis

2.- Spain mourns the death of art collector Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, Duchess of Alba

3.- Meet the ancestors: Exhibition at Bordeaux gallery reveals faces of prehistoric humans

4.- Getty Foundation and partners launch free of charge online art collection catalogues

5.- Historic photos of dead Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara resurface in small Spanish town

6.- Exhibition showcases the first two 'Poesie' created by Titian following their restoration

7.- O'Keeffe painting sells for more than three times the previous world auction record for any female artist

8.- Crystal Bridges announces the departure of museum President Don Bacigalupi

9.- artnet Auctions offers a later example of Yayoi Kusama's important Infinity-Nets series

10.- 'Degenerate art' should go back to museums: German advisor Jutta Limbach

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