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Gaston La Touche
Ballet Dancers
by 1907
body color and pastel on canvas
Canvas: 29 5/8 × 31 1/2 inches (75.2 × 80 cm)Framed: 30 13/16 × 22 1/16 × 3/4 inches (78.3 × 56 × 1.9 cm)
Credit Line
Museum purchase.
Accession Number
Born and raised near Paris, Gaston La Touche became a painter in spite of his family’s objections. As a young man he participated in spirited discussions about art at the Cafe de la Nouvelle-Athènes, alongside his friends Edgar Degas, Félix Bracquemond, and Édouard Manet. He formed important friendships with these men, even serving as a model for the figure of the mustachioed man at the bar in Manet’s iconic painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882). La Touche would go on to earn membership in the French National Society of Fine Arts in 1890 and to regularly exhibit works with several prominent art societies before his unexpected death in 1913.

Ballet Dancers recalls La Touche’s early ties to the Impressionists. Degas’ influence is apparent in the choice of medium, subject, and composition. A line of dancers in white tutus form a semi-circle on the left side of the canvas, while the two men on the right stand across from the semi-circle, gesturing at the dancers.