Edgar Degas

charcoal, chalk, and pastel image of seated woman in black adjusting hair

Edgar Degas (1834–1917)
Woman Adjusting Her Hair
c. 1884
Charcoal, chalk, and pastel, on two sheets of buff-colored paper
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Courtauld Bequest, 1948

This elegantly posed woman adjusting her hair may be a customer in a milliner's shop. Degas has rendered her in bold strokes of charcoal highlighted with luminous areas of pastel. The model's sinuous posture and the unusual angle contribute to the drawing's expressive power. Extensive alterations indicate that Degas rethought his initial ideas. The earlier design is visible along the curve of the model's back and right arm.

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