Singer at a Café-Concert


Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)




Lithograph on white, close-textured, smooth wove paper


13 11/16 x 10 5/8 inches


Purchase with funds from the Lawrence and Alfred Fox Foundation for the Ralph K. Uhry Collection and General Acquisitions Fund

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Though Degas exhibited with the Impressionists, he was largely uninterested in landscape painting and in depicting the effects of natural light. Degas drew instead upon his classical training in draftsmanship and preferred to work in the studio. Like the Impressionists, however, Degas developed an interest in Japanese prints, especially in regard to their unusual cropping and asymmetrical compositions. Both of these qualities are reflected in Singer at a Café-Concert. This may be Degas’s first lithograph and the only one drawn directly on the stone. Using this technique Degas was able to produce a range of tonalities that culminate in the black ribbon tied around the singer’s neck. The singer depicted is possibly Mademoiselle Bécat, who appears repeatedly throughout Degas’s work of the 1870s.

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