Etching, softground etching, aquatint, and drypoint
Support: Cream (3) heavy laid paper
Platemark: 30.2 x 12.6 cm (11 7/8 x 4 15/16 in.); Sheet: 36.3 x 26.6 cm (14 5/16 x 10 1/2 in.)
Gift of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1947.459
Catalogue raisonné: Reed & Shapiro 52
State: VII/XX (only known impression of this state)
The figure seated in the foreground is believed to be Mary Cassatt's sister, Lydia.
Degas and his friends Mary Cassatt and Camille Pissarro were all experimental printmakers who combined traditional printmaking techniques to create a black and white equivalent for the tonality and varied textures of paintings. They were all so involved in printmaking that in 1879–80 they planned to publish a journal, Le Jour et la nuit (Day and Night), that would contain original etchings. As a printmaker, Degas was ambivalent about when a plate was considered finished. What attracted him to printmaking was the variability. He thoroughly enjoyed reworking, retouching, and transforming plates, often progressing toward more subtle painterly effects.
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