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Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, Hélène Rouart in her Father's Study

Key facts
Full title Hélène Rouart in her Father's Study
Artist Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas
Artist dates 1834 - 1917
Date made about 1886
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 162.5 × 121 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1981
Inventory number NG6469
Location Room 41
Collection Main Collection
Hélène Rouart in her Father's Study
Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas

Hélène Rouart stands in her father’s study, her hands resting on the back of his empty chair. Works from his art collection can be seen behind her, including three Egyptian statues in a glass case and, above her, a Chinese wall hanging. Although Degas set down the final composition with little subsequent alteration, he did rework areas of the surface, even applying pastel directly to the canvas.

Hélène was the daughter of the engineer and amateur artist Henri Rouart, a friend of Degas who had a substantial collection of contemporary French painting, including work by Degas. When Hélène was nine, Degas had painted a portrait of her sitting on her father’s knee. She was 23 and married when this portrait was painted, but Degas does not show her wedding ring, perhaps to emphasise her status as a daughter, rather than as a wife.

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