Oil on wood panel
Framed: 42.5 x 50 x 6 cm (16 3/4 x 19 11/16 x 2 3/8 in.); Unframed: 27 x 34 cm (10 5/8 x 13 3/8 in.)
Bequest of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1958.25
The gentlemen in this painting had close relationships with many Parisian artists and would go directly to their studios to purchase works that they wanted to exhibit or sell.
The upper left corner of this painting bears a dedication by Degas "to his dear friends." The double portrait depicts Paul Lafond (left), future curator of the art museum at Pau, in southwestern France, and Alphonse Cherfils (right), an art collector and defender of the Impressionists. Through the influence of these friends, Degas's works were selected for the annual exhibitions of the Société des Amis des Arts (Society of Friends of the Arts), and his painting, A Cotton Office (1873), was the first by the artist to be purchased by a museum. Since the painting held by the two men is probably by Degas, this intimate image commemorates both personal and business relationships.
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