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A scaled-down replica of the 'Grande Arabesque' sculpture by Edgar Degas (1834-1917), the renowned French artist. The replica measures 29.5cm tall by 43cm wide.
Even though Degas was mainly known as a painter, from the 1860s onwards sculpture occupied an increasingly important place in his work and it became his principal mode of expression by the end of his career.
Initially the 'Grande Arabesque' sculpture was not intended to be viewed by anyone but the artist himself. If Degas had meant them to be seen by the public he would have exhibited them but only one of his sculptures was ever shown during his lifetime: the 'Little Ballet Dancer Aged Fourteen Years', exhibited in 1881. It caused outrage and disgust. Only after Degas' death in 1917 did his work garner the fervour it deserved.
It is believed that his first sculptures were of horses. However, he certainly started to show an interest in the human figure from about 1875. Most of the surviving studies of dancers come from the years 1880-1890. Edgar Degas’ ballerina sculptures, such as this one, are some of his finest works.