The gesture of a woman pulling on a long glove is the focal point of this portrait by Edgar Degas. Rose Caron (French, 1857–1930) was a famous operatic soprano. Through his extensive social circle and consuming love of the theater, Degas came to know Caron quite well. As evidenced by his abundant depictions of ballet dancers and other stage performers, the movements and physical traits of such individuals fascinated him. This image suggests that Degas was particularly drawn to Caron’s elongated, elegant arms. Here, dark fluid brushstrokes define the contours of her figure, silhouetted against a light background of brilliant reds, blues, yellows, greens, and browns. In this image, the artist positions the viewer as an observer of a typically private scene, possibly backstage.
Label from Humble and Human: An Exhibition in Honor of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., February 2–May 26, 2019