About This Artwork

Edgar Degas
French, 1834-1917

Self-Portrait, 1857

Etching in black on ivory laid paper
232 x 143 mm (image/plate); 324 x 233 mm (sheet)
Inscribed recto, lower left, in graphite: "Degas par lui- (?)- 23 ans 1857"; inscribed verso, lower right, in graphite: "26812"

The Joseph Brooks Fair Collection, 1932.1294

A work of surprising sophistication for a relatively young practitioner of the art, this etching was clearly inspired by the early graphic self-portraits of Rembrandt. Degas gleaned from the Baroque master his capacity to create an atmosphere from which a convincing presence emerges. This probing self-appraisal was made when the artist was only twenty-three years old. The maturity of Degas’s gaze is matched by the sophistication of his technique. He has printed this etching with a personalized, rich wiping of the plate that anticipates his later work in monotypes.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Chicago, Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, An Exhibition of Etchings by Edgar Degas, May 4-July 12, 1964, n.p., cat. 9 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Degas in The Art Institute of Chicago," July 19-September 23, 1984, pp. 25-26, cat. 5 (ill.), cat. by Richard R. Brettell and Suzanne Folds McCullagh.

The Art Institute of Chicago, May 7, 1987-May 19, 1991 (Allerton gallery 202A).

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Van Dyck, Rembrandt and the Portrait Print", March 5 - August 7, 2016, pp. 58-59, fig. 22 (ill.), cat. 126, cat. by Victoria Sancho Lobis and Maureen Warren.

Publication History

Loys Delteil, Le peintre-graveur illustré 9 (Paris, 1919), n.p., no. 1 III/V.

P. A. Lemoisne, Degas et son oeuvre I (Paris, 1946), p. 18.

Jean Sutherland Boggs, Portraits by Degas (Berkeley, 1962), pp. 10-11, pl. 16.

Paul Moses, An Exhibition of Etchings by Edgar Degas (Chicago, 1964), no. 9.

Jean Adhémar and Françoise Cachin, Edgar Degas: gravures et monotypes (Paris, 1973), pp. XL-XLI, no. 13 III/V.

Roger Passzion, Impressionist Prints (New York, 1974), p. 62.

Sue Welsh Reed and Barbara Stern Shapiro, Edgar Degas: The Painter as Printmaker (Boston, 1984), pp. 23-25, no. 8a III/IV.

Michio Shiraishi, Kazouo Uemura, Kouji Takada, Practice of Painting (Maruzen Company Ltd, 2002).

Ownership History

Alexis Hubert Rouart (1839-1911), Paris [his stamp, recto, Lugt suppl. 2187a]. Roger Marx (1859-1913), Paris; sold, Paris, April 26-May 2, 1914. Sold by Marcel Guiot, Paris, to the Art Institute, 1932.

Interpretive Resources

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