The earlier works of Edgar Degas auction

Hilaire Germain Edgar of Gas, said Edgar Degas was born July 19, 1934 in Paris. Home of Christie’s sales will lead the dance during a vacation on March 23, with a new set of drawings of the artist titled ‘the workshop of Edgar Degas’ youth. Composed of 55 designs, this collection first steps of the artist comes from heirs of Edgar’s brother, Rene de Gas. The overall estimate of this sale is about one million euros.

Rare works which already announced the brilliant career of Edgar Degas

After his Abitur in 1853 Edgar Degas enrolled in the Faculty of law to satisfy the ambitions of his father, but abandoned his studies in 1855.

These youth of Degas drawings at auction, are dated between 1855 and 1865, and precisely illustrate the early career of the artist. Anika Guntrum, Director International Department, described as them: “of rare works which already announced the brilliant career of Edgar Degas.

Batches that trace the genesis of the artist’s career

The human body found in this sale, inspired by antiquity and ancient masters studies already the artistic ambitions of the young artist. Lovers can discover many leaves with reference to Leonardo da Vinci or Rembrandt or Ingres.


A talented copyist of ancient masters

From 1853, he started attending the the print room of the national library. Tireless draughtsman, he copies works by Dürer, Mantegna, Veronese, Goya and Rembrandt. Ink on paper inspired by Rembrandt and entitled “Women at the laundry” will be presented at the auction (estimate: 15 000 / €20,000). “It recognizes here his admiration for the Dutch master technique in processing lines and chiaroscuro” explains the Art Department Impressionism and modern of Christie’s.


He spends his days at the Louvre where he is admitted as a copyist in 1853, fascinated by Italian, Dutch, and french painters. Lovers can discover a study of the St. Jean Baptiste of Leonardo da Vinci in this sale. Estimated to be between 50 000 and 70 000 euros, this sheet was designed in 1853/54 when Degas was barely 20 years old.

The strong influence of Ingres in this vacation Degas drawings

In 1855, he began to attend classes at the school of fine arts in Paris. The same year, he visits Ingres to submit his drawings. However, preferring to approach directly the art of masters classics such as Botticelli and Raphael, he begins from 1856 to 1860 numerous trips in Italy. Among this sale, a section by Christie’s academic drawings of Edgar Degas. “It illustrates l’ ‘ rigorous study of the human body and muscles proposed by the artist and is part of his finest early works ‘ says the auction house.

Back in Paris, in 1859, Degas takes a workshop Laval Street. His early works are a few neoclassical inspiration paintings whose subjects are often portraits of members of his family. “The many drawings and studies carried out in the 1860s often represent his brother René or his sister Thérèse” said the auction house. When Degas was taking courses at the school of fine arts in Paris, from 1855, he visited Ingres to present his drawings.


The budding artist chose as main topic ‘portraits of his family, in which he chooses to express his traditionalism and the admiration he wore to the neo-classical painting and Ingres. One of the drawings of this vacation presents his sister in “an Ingresque composition whose realism echoes Gustave Courbet”. We find ourselves through this sheet, the expressiveness and the vulnerability of the model (estimate: 50 000 / €70 000).

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Women at the laundry
with the ‘NEPVEU DEGAS’ stamp (lower-right)
ink on paper
19 x 14.5 cm.
Run to 1857-58

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Studies based on Leonardo da Vinci, detail of “John the Baptist” and study based on an old master
with the stamp ‘ workshop ED. DEGAS’ (on the reverse; Lugt 657)
graphite on paper very stained
24.4 x 31 cm.
Run to 1853-54

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Academic study, sitting naked
with the stamp ‘ workshop ED. DEGAS’ partially legible (lower-right; Lugt 657)
blood and stump on laid paper
46.7 x 31 cm.
Run to 1854-56

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Portrait of Teresa of Gas
with the stamp ‘ workshop ED. DEGAS’ (lower-left; Lugt 657)
graphite on laid paper
31.4 x 24.5 cm.
Run around 1860

© Christie’s Images Ltd., 2017

THE WORKSHOP OF EDGAR DEGAS: A SET OF DRAWINGS BELONGING TO THE FAMILY OF THE ARTIST

Sale: Thursday 23 March 2017 at 3 pm.