Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando

The acrobat Miss La La caused a sensation when she performed at the Cirque Fernando in Paris. Here she is shown suspended from the rafters of the circus dome by a rope clenched between her teeth.

Degas sought out such striking modern subjects, concentrating on figures in arresting poses. In January 1879 he made a series of drawings at the Cirque Fernando including a pastel study of Miss La La (London, Tate Gallery), which culminated in this painting. We view the spectacle as the audience would have done, gazing up at the daring feat taking place above.

The painting was exhibited at the fourth Impressionist exhibition held in April 1879.

Key facts

Artist dates
1834 - 1917
Full title
Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
117.2 x 77.5 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Bought, Courtauld Fund, 1925
Inventory number
Location in Gallery