Degas created this unusually large group portrait while vacationing with friends on France’s Northern coast. The drawing was executed on a single sheet of rough, fibrous paper with a “tooth” (or texture) that held the powdery material of his pastel crayon in place. Using a technique that he developed alongside Mary Cassatt, Degas sketched dense parallel and perpendicular strokes in contrasting warm and cool colors to create a sense of depth. He allowed the brown color of the paper—which has darkened over time—to remain visible, giving the image a striking, warm tone.
In the late summer of 1885 Edgar Degas (1834-1917) traveled north from Paris to join his friends for a seaside holiday. His destination was Dieppe, a picturesque town on the Normandy coast. While relaxing with the family of writer Ludovic Halévy, he created a large pastel drawing of six male figures. They included Halévy and his young son Daniel; the painters Henri Gervex, Jacques-Émile Blanche, and Walter Sickert; and “a man of taste,” Albert Boulanger-Cavé. ...a remarkable group portrait that represents a unique performance of art and friendship.
artist by artistbirds eye viewhatmenwriterpastel on paper (now yellowed)mounted to fabric