Incorrect Username, Email, or Password
Figure studies of a group of five standing nude women

Outlined in bold black charcoal on off white paper, we see a group of five nude women standing closely together in various poses shown from the waist up.. At left, the figure closest stands in three quarter profile, looking at her left shoulder as she touches it with her right hand. Similarly to the four others, her hair is highlighted in brown and worn in a bun. Behind her, two figures at right hold poses facing away from the viewer while two at left face toward the viewer, each of them looking in separate directions.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, French (Paris, France 1834 - 1917 Paris, France)
Dancers, Nude Study
Work Type
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Charcoal and red-brown pastel on cream wove paper
78.1 x 58.1 cm (30 3/4 x 22 7/8 in.)
frame: 104.5 x 85.1 x 8.6 cm (41 1/8 x 33 1/2 x 3 3/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: charcoal, l.r.: Degas


Recorded Ownership History
[Ambroise Vollard, Paris]. Mr. and Mrs. Paul Obst, Paris and Munich. [Walter Feilchenfeldt, Zurich], sold; to Louise and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., 1969; Emily Rauh Pulitzer, partial and promised gift to Harvard Art Museums, 2002

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Partial and Promised Gift of Emily Rauh Pulitzer in honor of James Cuno
Object Number
European and American Art

The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.


"Dancers, Nude Study" is an instructive example of the technical mastery and innovation and the serial, repetitive compositional practices characteristic of Degas's late work. It dates from the late 1890s and belongs to a closely interrelated group of drawings and pastels in which the figures represented here are shown nude or in ballet costume, rearranged in variant combinations, isolated as single figures, or repeated with little variation. "Dancers, Nude Study" is on tracing paper and apparently originated as a tracing from a pastel in a private collection (Lemoisne 1352), which showed the dancers in costume. Degas took a counterproof of our drawing (Lemoisne 1355bis), and he also traced it to make another version with only slight alterations (Lemoisne 1357). These three (Lemoisne 1352, 1355bis, and 1357) are the most closely related works, but the group of variants is more extensive (see George T. Shackelford, "Degas: The Dancers," exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1984-85, pp. 109-127).

Publication History

  • Degas: Quatre-vingt-dix-huit reproductions signées par Degas, Galerie A. Vollard (Paris, 1914), pl. 91
  • Paul André Lemoisne, Degas et son Oeuvre, Paul Brame and Cesar M. de Hauke (Paris, France, 1946-1949), no. 1355, repr.
  • William Germain Dooley, "Pulitzer Collection at Fogg", Cambridge Chronicle (Cambridge, MA, November 18, 1971), repr.
  • Ernest Haskell, Jr., "Pulitzer Collection", Brunswick-Bath Times Record [Maine] (December 2, 1971), repr.
  • Charles Scott Chetham, Modern Painting, Drawing & Sculpture: Collected by Louise and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1971), cat. no. 164, repr.
  • Marianne Feilchenfeldt, 25 Jahre Feilchenfeldt in Zürich 1948-1973 (Zurich, 1973(?)), repr. (n.p.)
  • George T.M. Shackelford, Degas: The Dancers, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C, 1984), cat. no. 57, pp. 123-125, repr. p. 125
  • "Display from Pulitzer Art Collection", St. Louis Post-Dispatch (June 12, 1988), p. 2D
  • Roger Schlueter, "Pulitzer Show spans Decade of Modern Art Development", Belleville News-Democrat [Belleville, Illinois] (July 7, 1988), pp. 1C, 5C
  • Millie Wolff, "St. Louis Exhibit Provides Journey in Modern Styles", Palm Beach Daily News (July 31-August 3, 1988), p. B16
  • Richard Kendall, Degas: Beyond Impressionism, exh. cat., Yale University Press (New Haven, CT, 1996), no. 35, repr.
  • Christine Hopfengart, ed., Kunsthalle Bremen, Band II: Meisterwerke, Aquarelle, Pastelle und Zeichnungen, Kunstverein Bremen (Bremen, 1998), p. 187, repr. p. 186
  • Jill DeVonyar and Richard Kendall, Degas and the Dance, exh. cat., American Federation of Arts/Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 2002), pp. 252, 293, pl. 292 (color)
  • Bobbie Leigh and Rebecca Dimling Cochran, "The Top 100 Collectors in America", Art & Antiques (March 2003), vol. 26, no. 3, entire issue, repr. p. 93
  • Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 2002-2003 (Cambridge, MA, 2004), repr. p. 23
  • Christine Temin, "Degas Show at Harvard gives Insight into Cuno", Chicago Tribune (September 4 2005)
  • Christopher Reed, "Mad for Degas", Harvard Magazine (July 2005 - August 2005), vol. 107, no. 6, pp. 40-45, p. 43, ill.
  • Marjorie B. Cohn and Jean Sutherland Boggs, Degas at Harvard, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums/Yale University Press (Cambridge and New Haven, 2005), cat. no. 52, fig. 35 (color), p. 68
  • Stephan Wolohojian and Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, ed. Stephan Wolohojian, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, 2008), p. 167, repr.
  • George T.M. Shackelford and Xavier Rey, Degas and the Nude, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, 2011), p. 203, repr. p. 207 as fig. 232, p. 229
  • Degas Porté au Nu, Télérama hors série, March 2012, reproduced on the cover

Exhibition History

  • Modern Painting Drawing and Sculpture Collected by Louise and Joseph Pulitzer Jr, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 11/15/1971 - 01/03/1972; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, 02/02/1972 - 03/19/1972
  • Degas: The Dancers, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 11/22/1984 - 03/10/1985
  • Modern Art from the Pulitzer Collection: 50 Years of Connoisseurship, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/16/1988 - 06/12/1988; Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, 07/08/1988 - 08/28/1988
  • Degas: Beyond Impressionism, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 09/28/1996 - 01/05/1997
  • Degas and the Dance, 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
  • Degas and the Nude, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 10/09/2011 - 02/05/2012

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