The Rehearsal

Image credit: Glasgow Life Museums

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Although at first glance we feel that we have just happened upon this scene, it is not at all realistic. Degas, unlike his Impressionist friends, rarely worked from life. Instead he worked from sketches, from memory and from his imagination. Despite this he has managed to capture a feeling of immediacy – the dancer almost hidden by the spiral staircase, the ankles descending the staircase and the woman on the right who is nearly cut in two. The Rehearsal is one of Degas' first paintings of the ballet, a subject he continued to paint for the rest of his life. In 1888 Vincent van Gogh's brother Theo bought this work from fellow dealer Georges Petit for 5,220 French francs. Only a few weeks later he sold it for 8,000 French francs. William Burrell purchased the painting in July 1926 for £6,500.

The Burrell Collection


The Rehearsal




oil on canvas


H 58.4 x W 83.8 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from Sir William and Lady Burrell to the City of Glasgow, 1944

Work type


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Normally on display at

The Burrell Collection

Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow G43 1AT Scotland

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