Dancer (Préparation en dedans), c.1885

by Edgar Degas


DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 13.25 x 9 inches (33.66 x 22.86 cm)
SIGNATURE: Inscribed (upper right), stamped (lower left), inscribed (verso)
MEDIUM: Charcoal on paper

The dancer is preparing for a movement known as a rond de jambe à terre, ‘in which one leg describes a semicircle on the floor. “En dedans” specifies that the movement is from front to back…“Préparation” is the movement leading to (preparing for) the “rond de jambe” and it is not normally followed by “en dedans” as Degas writes it; the “en dedans” belongs to the “rond de jambe”.


    Your Message

    Here Edgar Degas portrays this young woman as she builds up momentum in order to galvanise a turn or jump that will spin her around and away from us towards the right, a series of events lasting just a few seconds. Practical considerations, therefore, place this drawing in an even more extreme category than others, as the definitively unstable position in Dancer could not have been maintained artificially for the benefit of the artist and was not easily reconstituted at will.

    Yet as multiple contours around legs and torso reveal, the model appears to have repeated the action for Degas a number of times, while he struggled to draw the virtually un-drawable. The extremity of tasks he now set himself challenged the foundation of Degas’s draughtsmanship.

    Degas’ charcoal drawings of single dancers engaged in ballet exercises often show signs of ‘pentimento’, as the artist tried to quickly capture the position of a leg or arm in motion, and may be counted among his most immediate and spontaneous drawings. Many of these drawings also have annotations in the artist’s hand.


    The Atelier Degas, Paris, with the atelier stamp (Lugt 657) stamped on the verso;
    The third Vente Degas, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 7-9 April 1919, part of lot 102, sold with three other drawings for 1,450 francs;
    Paul Cassirer, Berlin;
    Acquired by a private collector in the 1920s
    Thence by descent to a private collection, Germany;
    Private Collection, United Kingdom

    Buy with confidence: our assurance to you

    Trinity_House_Montage from StrategiQ on Vimeo.

    Professional Associations

    We have built up a strong reputation for the quality of the paintings, drawings and sculpture that we curate, exhibit and sell. Our professional associations with bodies such as The British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA) and the Association of Art & Antique Dealers (LAPADA) are as a result of our reputation for integrity, our wide knowledge of fine arts and the high quality of our stock. Our business standards and expertise are reviewed regularly to adhere vigorously to enforced Codes. Our memberships and commitment to its Code of Conducts gives our buyers confidence when purchasing a work from us.


    Condition reports and certificates of authenticity vary in their nature by artwork, for more information on your pieces of interest, please enquire with the gallery.

    Artwork images

    We take pride in the attention we give to our images of the artworks for purchase and invest in these to ensure outputs are aligned as closely as possible to the item in reality. We do not apply filters or modify images, we provide high-quality images to reflect the high quality of our artworks.

    Your purchase process

    Payment processing – You can be assured that payments are securely processed through Worldpay’s trusted payment gateway.

    The Trinity House promise to you

    Shipping and packaging

    Shipping and packaging requirements are assessed per piece to ensure the most suitable protection for the artwork. Trinity House will therefore call following purchase to agree the recommendations and costs.

    Our After Sales services

    We offer the following services which we will be happy to discuss with you following your purchase, alternatively, you can enquire for more information.


    We offer insurance appraisals to protect your prised artwork and help you find the right cover and policy for you.


    We are able to advise on framing and have access to every type and style to suit any artistic period or room setting.


    The nature of the materials involved in a painting mean that on occasion some pieces are susceptible to movement and the effects of natural ageing. We are able to provide advice on practical measures to conserve the original condition of a piece and have relationships with restorers and framers to offer you a range of services to meet your needs.


    About half of Degas’ total oeuvre are ballet subjects, a theme he first began to treat regularly in the early 1870’s, and which he continued to study in hundreds of paintings, drawings, pastels, sculptures, prints and photographs right up until the very end of his long career. In his drawings of dancers, Degas was to develop a huge repertoire of poses, which he used and reused in his paintings and sculptures. These drawings were made both behind the scenes at the Opéra itself and, more frequently, from the model posed in his studio. He appears to have been much less interested in the actual performances than in the dancers themselves, who are often portrayed at rest or exercising behind the scenes. Degas seems to have had a natural affection for these little dancers, known as the ballet ‘rats’; girls from poor families who entered the Opéra at the ages of seven or eight and spent ten or more years in classes, training for the corps de ballet. He studied and drew their long and arduous hours of practice, and seems to have sympathized with them and admired their dedication.


    You may also like…

    Go to Top