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Sketched portrait of an elderly man in three quarter profile

Fine graphite lines faintly visible on dark tanned paper portray a three quarter view of the head of a man. With a relaxed, confident expression the elderly man looks directly at the viewer with heavy lidded eyes. He has a high forehead and thin hair combed back. He wears a coat and a shirt with a high collar that rises in front of his cheek and the knot of a necktie can be seen under his chin.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, French (Paris, France 1834 - 1917 Paris, France)
Portrait of René-Hilaire Degas, the Artist's Grandfather
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Portrait of Degas's Grandfather
Work Type
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Graphite and/or black chalk on off-white wove paper darkened to brown-gray
30.5 x 23.2 cm (12 x 9 1/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • estate stamp: red stamp on back of secondary paper formerly attached to back of window mat: SUCCESSION ED. DEGAS [Lugt 658 bis]
  • gallery label: formerly back of frame: THE NEW GALERY / 601 MADISON AVENUE NEW YORK / ARTIST: DATE: / TITLE: STOCK: / MEDIUM: PRICE: / SIZE: [none of these fields are filled in]
  • clipping: formerly back of frame: [from unidentified sale catalogue:] Portrait du grand-père de l'artiste. Mine de plomb, légers rehauts de sanguine; au bas du montage, figure une inscription séparée, de la main de l'artiste: "Mon grand père Degas, Capodimonte 1857." Timbre de l'atelier Degas, en bas à droite; timbre de la succession Degas, sur la feuille de papier d'encadrement, au verso. Ancienne collection de Mlle Fèvre. Haut., 0m30; larg., 0m22.
  • inscription: on piece of paper slipped into old mat, brown ink, in Degas' hand: Mon grand père Degas / Capodimonte 1857

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Richard B. Sisson and through the generosity of Anthony and Celeste Meier
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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Publication History

  • Collecting Privately, exh. cat., Bowdoin College Museum of Art (Brunswick, Maine, 1965), cat. no. 7, fig. 2

Exhibition History

  • Collecting Privately, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, 07/02/1965 - 09/05/1965
  • 32Q: 3620 University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/15/2017 - 05/08/2017

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at