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Edgar Degas
Portrait of Miss Hortense Valpinçon, about 1869 - 1871
oil on mattress casing (ticking)

Born in 1862, Hortense Valpinçon was the daughter of Edgar Degas's school friend Paul Valpinçon. This painting can be roughly dated from her apparent age, presuming that Degas worked on it during a single visit to her family. Habitually unable to complete paintings to his satisfaction and apt to revise his rare finished ones, Degas never finalized this work judging from the figure's unresolved details. Of course, just such signs of an artist's creative struggle became an essential feature of much modern painting by the turn of the century.