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A ballet dance studio with several young girls in white tutus are gathered on the left.

A small group of dancers take the same pose in the middle ground, while four others in various poses stand along the back wall. The dancers’ tutus are tied in the back with pink or light blue ribbons, their hair is tied up and they wear a black ribbon around the neck. A man in a dark suit sits on the left playing a violin. The studio interior is lit by natural light from tall windows which beautifully illuminate the tutus and empty space of the floor on the right. Non-descript buildings and green shrubs are seen beyond the windows.

Gallery Text

This is one of Degas’s earliest paintings of dancers, a subject which he depicted in many media throughout his career. A close look at this canvas reveals a grid underneath the paint layer that he used as part of the preparatory process to record preliminary ideas. Degas later reworked this painting, taking out a stairwell and repositioning some of the figures to add to the rhythmic line of the rehearsing dancers.

When Edmond de Goncourt, the renowned artist, critic, and writer, visited Degas’s studio in 1874, he wrote: “After a great many essays and experiments and trial shoots in all directions, he has fallen in love with modern life, and out of all the subjects of modern life he has chosen washerwomen and ballet dancers. . . . It is a world of pink and white, of female flesh in lawn and gauze, the most delightful of pretexts for using pale, soft tints.”

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, French (Paris, France 1834 - 1917 Paris, France)
The Rehearsal
Work Type
c. 1873-1878
Persistent Link


Level 1, Room 1220, European Art, 19th–20th century, Collection of Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906
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Physical Descriptions

Oil on canvas
47.2 x 61.5 cm (18 9/16 x 24 3/16 in.)
framed: 71.9 x 87.2 x 11.2 cm (28 5/16 x 34 5/16 x 4 7/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.r.: Degas
  • inscription: verso, stretcher, handwritten in blue marker: 11414F


Recorded Ownership History
Michel Manzi, Paris, sold; [through Eugene Glaenzer, New York, 1907]; to Harris Whittemore, Naugatuck, CT, (1907 - 1926?) transferred?; to J. H. Whittemore Company (1926? - 1942) sold; to Maurice Wertheim, New York, (1942-1951) bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1951.


According to correspondence of Ann Smith (June 12, 2009), ownership of most paintings in the Whittemore homes was transferred beween 1899 and 1926 to the J. H. Whittemore Company.

Exhibited with Whittemore collection in 1941.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest from the Collection of Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art


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Publication History

  • Emil Waldmann, "Modern French Pictures: Some American Collections", Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, The Burlington Magazine Publications, Ltd. (April 1910), Vol. 17, No. 85, pp. 62-66
  • Loan Exhibition of Paintings and Pastels by H. G. E. Degas, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1911), no. 4
  • Paul Lafond, Degas, Henri Floury (Paris, France, 1918 - 1919), vol. II p. 28
  • The Harris Whittemore Collection, Tuttle House (Naugatuck CT, 1938), no. 7
  • Art in New England, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, MA, 1939), no. 34, pl. XX
  • Alfred M. Frankfurter, "Now the Great French 19th Century in the National Gallery", Art News (December 15, 1941 - December 31, 1941), vol. XL, repr. p. 19
  • Mattatuck Museum, Loan Exhibition of Paintings from the Whittemore Collection, exh. cat., Mattatuck Museum (Waterbury, CT, 1941), no. 8
  • John Rewald, "The Realism of Degas", Magazine of Art, The Magazine of Art (January 1946), XXXIX, repr. p. 16
  • Alfred M. Frankfurter, "Today's Collectors: Modern Milestones", Art News (June 1946), vol. XLV, no. 4, p. 64; repr. in b/w p. 30
  • French Painting since 1870, lent by Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1946), pp. 6-9, repr. p. 7
  • Lillian Browse, Degas Dancers, The Studio Publications Incorporated (New York, NY, 1949), pl. 37, pp. 349-350
  • La Peinture Française Depuis 1870: Collection Maurice Wertheim, exh. cat., Tom Taylor (Québec, Canada, 1949), no. 2, pp. 6-8
  • John Coolidge, "The Wertheim Collection", Harvard Alumni Bulletin, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, July 7, 1951), repr. p. 754
  • The Maurice Wertheim Catalogue: Modern French Art-- Monet to Picasso, exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh, NC, 1960), p. 8, repr. p. 9
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection: Manet to Picasso, exh. cat., The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston, TX, 1962), p. 14, pl. 2
  • Ronald Pickvance, "Degas' Dancers, 1872-6", The Burlington Magazine (June 1963), vol. CV, p. 265
  • Heinz Peters, ed., Kleine Museum Reise durch Amerika, Gebr. Mann Verlag (Berlin, Germany, 1969), p. 112, repr.
  • James Nelson, "Impressionism Ridiculed by 19th Century Critics", The Montgomery Advertiser Journal (Montgomery, AL, June 6, 1971)
  • "Maurice Wertheim Collection to be Featured Exhibit", Musings About the Maine State Museum (1972), vol. III, p. 3, repr.
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, exh. cat., Maine State Museum (Augusta, ME, 1972), no. 3
  • John Coolidge, "Maurice and Cecile Wertheim", Fogg Art Museum Newsletter, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, March 1975), repr. p. 1
  • Theodore Reff, The Notebooks of Edgar Degas, The Clarendon Press (Oxford, England, 1976), 1, pl. 50, p. 133
  • C. Harrison, Modern Art and Modernism: Manet to Pollock, The Open University Press (Milton Keynes, England, 1983), pl. II, 52
  • Theodore Reff and Philippe Brame, Degas et son Oeuvre: a Supplement, Garland Publishers, Inc. (New York, NY and London, England, 1984), no. 60, p. 64
  • G. Freisinger, "Second Impressions", Harvard Magazine (Cambridge, MA, May 1985 - June 1985), ill. p. 39
  • John Rewald, Studies in Impressionism, ed. Irene Gordon (New York, NY, 1985), p. 53, repr.
  • Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 217, p. 191, repr. b/w
  • John O'Brian, Degas to Matisse: the Maurice Wertheim Collection, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. and Fogg Art Museum (New York, NY and Cambridge, MA, 1988), no. 2, pp. 38-41, repr. p. 39
  • Kirk Varnedoe, A Fine Disregard: What Makes Modern Art Modern, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, 1990), repr. in color fig. 70, p. 79; mentioned p. 80
  • Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 84, color plate; pp. 104, 240, repr. b/w cat. no. 330
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection and Selected Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings and Drawings in the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1990), repr. in color no. 14, p. 59
  • David G. Wilkins and Bernard Schultz, Art Past, Art Present, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1997), p. 464, repr. in color
  • Masterpieces of world art : Fogg Art Museum, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 1997
  • Judith A. Barter, Mary Cassatt: Modern Woman, exh. cat., The Art Institute of Chicago/Harry N. Abrams (Chicago, IL and New York, NY, 1998), p. 199
  • Belinda Thomson, Impressionism: Origins, Practice, Reception, Thames and Hudson, Ltd. (London, 2000), p. 38, repr. in color
  • Ann Dumas and David A. Brenneman, Degas and America: The Early Collectors, exh. cat., High Museum of Art/MInneapolis Institute of Arts/Rizzoli (New York, NY, 2001), pp. 24-25, 30
  • Jill DeVonyar and Richard Kendall, Degas and the Dance, exh. cat., American Federation of Arts/Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 2002), pp. 82-86, repr. in color; cklist p. 289
  • Jon Garelick, "Abstract Thoughts: The Transitional and Transcendent Art of Edgar Degas at the Sackler Museum", The Boston Phoenix (August 5 2005), p. 18, p. 18, repr.
  • Richard Kendall, "Degas", The Burlington Magazine (December 2005), CXLVII, pp. 847-848, p. 847
  • "Distinguished Collection of Degas Masterworks Opens", website, August 4 2005, repr.
  • Christopher Reed, "Mad for Degas", Harvard Magazine (July 2005 - August 2005), vol. 107, no. 6, pp. 40-45, p. 41, ill.
  • Leslie P. Kilgore, "Museums & Galleries: Delve into Degas", The Improper Bostonian (August 31 2005-September 13 2005), p. 59, repr. p. 59
  • Erika Jacobson, "Revisiting Degas", Dance Teacher (November 2005), p. 44, repr. p. 44
  • Lois E. Beckett, "Seeing Degas Through Wolohojian's Eyes", The Harvard Crimson (October 21 2005), p. B6, p. B6, repr.
  • David G. Wilkins and Bernard Schultz, Art Past, Art Present, Pearson Prentice Hall (Saddle River, NJ, 2005), p. 448, repr. in color as fig. 9.58
  • Marjorie B. Cohn and Jean Sutherland Boggs, Degas at Harvard, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums/Yale University Press (Cambridge and New Haven, 2005), pp. 14-15; repr. in color as fig. 3, p. 17; p. 60; no. 6, p. 98
  • Caitlin Davis, "Degas's Rehearsal", The Frick Collection Members' Magazine, The Frick Collection (Fall 2008), pp. 8-11; repr. in color on p. 11
  • Stephan Wolohojian and Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, ed. Stephan Wolohojian, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, 2008), p. 166, repr.
  • Richard Kendall, Daphne Barbour, and Shelley Sturman, Degas in the Norton Simon Museum: Nineteenth-Century Art, ed. Sara Campbell, Yale University Press (U.S.) (New Haven, 2009), pp. 104-105, 144, repr. in color p. 105 as fig. 6c and p. 144 as fig. 14a
  • Ann Y. Smith, Hidden in Plain Sight: The Whittemore Collection and the French Impressionists, Garnet Hill Publishing Company (Waterbury, CT (?), 2009), pp. 58, 60, 86, repr. pp. 43 (in Whittemore's home), 61
  • Ann Y. Smith, "The Whittemores of Connecticut: Pioneer Collectors of French Impressionism", Antiques and Fine Art Magazine (Spring 2010), X, no. 2, pp. 158-165, p. 163, fig. 8
  • Richard Kendall and Jill DeVonyar, Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement, exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts (London, 2011), cat. no. 7, pp. 38, 39, 42, 43, repr. pp. 40-41, detail repr. pp. 20-21
  • Elizabeth M. Rudy, "Researching the Wertheim Collection at the Harvard Art Museums", Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals (Summer 2014), Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 301-6
  • Greg Stone, Artful Business: 50 Lessons from Creative Geniuses (Boston, 2016), p. 18, ill. (color)
  • Henri Loyrette, Degas: A New Vision, exh. cat., National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Melbourne/Houston, 2016), repr. p. 227, detail repr. pp. 110-111
  • Henri Loyrette, Degas at the Opéra, exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay (Paris, 2019), pp. 210, 215, 310, cat. no. 220, repr. p. 210 as fig. 218

Exhibition History

  • A Loan Exhibition of Paintings and Pastels by H. G. E. Degas, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/05/1911 - 04/14/1911
  • French Art from the Ninth to the Twentieth Century, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/09/1919 - 04/23/1919
  • Unidentified Exhibition, Tuttle House, 1938, Tuttle House, 04/01/1938 - 04/30/1938
  • Art in New England: Paintings, Drawings, Prints from Private Collections in New England, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 06/09/1939 - 09/10/1939
  • Unidentified Exhibition, National Gallery of Art, 1942, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 01/01/1941 - 12/31/1942
  • A Loan Exhibition of Paintings from the Whittemore Collection, Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, 01/09/1941 - 01/26/1941
  • French Painting since 1870 lent by Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/01/1946 - 09/07/1946; National Gallery of Art, Washington, 07/01/1953 - 09/13/1953
  • La Peinture Française depuis 1870, Musée de la Province de Quebec, 07/12/1949 - 08/07/1949
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 07/01/1952 - 09/14/1952
  • French Paintings Since 1870 from the Maurice Wertheim Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/01/1953 - 09/30/1953
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 06/15/1957 - 09/15/1957
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 06/10/1958 - 08/31/1958
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection: Modern French Art--Monet to Picasso, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, 06/17/1960 - 09/04/1960
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection: Manet to Picasso, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, 06/13/1962 - 09/02/1962
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, 06/20/1963 - 09/01/1963
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, 06/24/1965 - 09/07/1965
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, 09/03/1968 - 09/22/1968
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Montgomery Museum of Art, Montgomery, 06/01/1971 - 09/30/1971
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Maine State Museum, Augusta, 06/01/1972 - 09/01/1972
  • Masterpieces of European Art, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 06/22/1985 - 09/15/1985
  • The Maurice Wertheim Collection and Selected Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings and Drawings in the Fogg Art Museum, Isetan Department Store, Tokyo, 03/01/1990 - 04/10/1990; Yamaguchi Prefectural Museum of Art, 04/14/1990 - 05/13/1990
  • Degas and the Dance, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, 10/20/2002 - 01/12/2003; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 02/12/2003 - 05/11/2003
  • Degas at Harvard, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/01/2005 - 11/27/2005
  • Re-View: S427 Impressionist & Postimpressionist Art, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/02/2008 - 06/18/2011
  • Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 09/17/2011 - 12/11/2011
  • 32Q: 1220 Wertheim, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 10/11/2016; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/06/2017 - 02/13/2020; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/04/2021 - 01/01/2050
  • Degas: A New Vision, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, 10/16/2016 - 01/16/2017
  • Degas at the Opera, National Gallery of Art, Landover, 03/01/2020 - 10/12/2020

Subjects and Contexts

  • Collection Highlights
  • Google Art Project

Related Works

Verification Level

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