Hilare Germain Edgar Degas
(June 19, 1834 - 1917)
Portrait of Mlle. Carpentier
Oil on canvas, signed "Degas"
on the front lower left hand corner,
also signed "Degas" on the back
of the frame with the inscription
"Mlle. Carpentier"

The view below is the same as the one above, it is slightly larger and the frame has been cropped out.

Close-up of the face.  The shiny spots are due to reflection of the lighting.

Close-up of the hands.

Close-up of the signature on the front (bottom left corner).

Back of the frame and canvas.

Close-up of the signature on the back of the frame (upper right corner).

Close-up of the signature on the back frame (taken without a flash).

The portrait of Mlle. Carpentier has been in a Maine private collection for over two decades.  It is currently on loan to The Davistown Museum for further research prior to being sold.  Persons wishing to view this portrait may make an appointment to do so by contacting The Davistown Museum.

The museum is trying to locate additional information about Mlle. Carpentier and her relationship with Edgar Degas.  We believe that this portrait was painted in Paris at approximately the same time as "The Family Bellelli" (1858 - 1867) because Mlle. Carpentier's silhouette bears such a striking stylistic resemblance to it and other portraits that Degas painted in this period, just prior to his embracing the Impressionistic style.  In the fall of 1872, Degas departed for New Orleans and never again produced portraits with the tightly modeled silhouettes so characteristic of his most important early influence, Ingres.  Anyone with further information about the identity of Mlle. Carpentier or her relationship with Edgar Degas, please contact The Davistown Museum.

Examples of tightly drawn portraits

Following is a list of Degas' portraits containing the tightly drawn faces similar to the portrait of Mlle. Carpentier and frequently characteristic of many of his portraits done between 1855 - 1872.  At this time, Degas was also beginning to paint many pictures in his Impressionistic style, e.g. The Orchestra of the Opera, 1870, Orchestra Musicians, 1871, but still continued to utilize his more traditional earlier style based on his appreciation of Ingres.

  • The Bellelli Family, 1858 - 1867, Musée D'Orsay, pg. 77 - 79 of Boggs.
  • Mme. Theodore Gobillard (Yves Morisot) 1869. pg. 149 of Boggs.
  • Portrait of René De Gas, 1855, oil on canvas, Feigenbaum, pg. 111
  • Marguerite De Gas, 1868, oil on canvas, Feigenbaum, pg. 117
  • Woman with a Vase of Flowers, Musée D'Orsay.
  • Additional examples of Degas portraits are listed in the references cited below.
We welcome further information about this or any other Degas portraits from visitors to The Davistown Museum website.

Bibliography and References

Following are some of the basic references being used to document the portrait of Mlle. Carpentier.

Boggs, Jean Sutherland. Degas [exhibition catalog]. Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, (Paris, Ottawa, NY, Feb. 1988 - Jan. 1999).

  • See the following examples of tightly drawn portrait faces illustrated in Boggs:
    • The Bellelli Family, 1858 - 1867. pg. 78.  One of Degas most famous paintings, the face of Laura bears a close stylistic resemblance to the sitter in our portrait.
    • Mme. Theodore Gobillard (Yves Morisot) 1869. pg. 149.
    • Woman with an Umbrella.
    • Hortense Valpincon, 1871. pg. 168.
    • M. and Mme Edmondo Morbillo, 1865. pg. 118.
  • In the index of former owners:
    • Note the 55 references to Mrs. H. O. Havermeyer in the index of former owners, pg. 621.  The oral history of the ownership of this portrait is that it had once been in the H. O. Havermeyer collection and was then passed down, through relatives, to a family living in Beverly Farms, MA.  When the Beverly Farms estate was sold in the early 1980's, the portrait came into the possession of the collector, who has loaned it to The Davistown Museum for further research and identification.
  • Also see Degas' portrait of Berthe Morrisot's sister Yves: Mme. Theodore Gobillard, (Yves Morisot), 1869, pg. 149 of Boggs.
Gordon, Robert and Forge, Andres. (1988). Degas. Abrams, NY

Feigenbaum, Gail. (1999). Degas in New Orleans: A French Impressionist in America. New Orleans Museum of Art. Catalog by Jean Sutherland Boggs.

  • This catalog exhibition contains numerous examples of Degas' portraits and important background information pertaining to the period just before Degas trip to visit his relatives in New Orleans in the fall of 1872.
  • Portrait of René De Gas, 1855, oil on canvas, pg. 111
  • Marguerite De Gas, 1868, oil on canvas, pg. 117
  • Portraits in a Cotton Office, 1873, pg. 223.
Sutton, Denys. (1991). Degas: Life and Work. Artabras, NY, NY.
  • Portrait of a Young Woman, 1867, oil on canvas, pg. 65.
  • Woman in Grey, 1865, oil on canvas, pg. 66.
  • Léon Bonnat, circa 1863, oil on canvas, pg. 67.
  • Joséphine Gaujelin, 1867, oil on canvas, pg. 70.  This is located at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
  • Marie Dibau, circa 1869-72, oil on canvas, pg. 74.
  • Princess Metternich, circa 1861, oil on canvas, pg. 80.
Halevy, Daniel. (1964). My Friend Degas. Translated and edited with notes by Mina Curtiss. Wesleyan University Press.

Guillaud, Jacqueline et Maurice, Eds. (1984). Degas: Form and Space. Centre Culturel du Marais, Paris.  Distributed by Rizzol, NY.  (Text is in French?)

McMullen, Roy. (1984). Degas: His Life, Times, and Work. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.