"The Dancing Lesson," painted by artist Edgar Degas ca. 1880 A frequent visitor to the Paris Opera, Degas began observing the corps de ballet rehearsals backstage in the 1870s. He made hundreds of sketches of dancers tying their shoes, resting from their practices, or waiting in the wings to perform. In this classroom picture, Degas arranged the dancers diagonally across a wide, slim composition that shows them in several characteristic positions. The yellow sash and the bright colors of the fan held by the central figure stand out against the browns and grays of the rest of the painting. The Clarks collected Degas extensively and this is just one of numerous works of ballet dancers in the collection. Audio tour: Chief Curator Jefferson Harrison introduces Edgar Degas' "The Dancing Lesson."
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