Chez la modiste (1881)

Degas, Edgar (1834-1917)

Chez la modiste (At the Milliner’s)
Pastel on paper, 69.2 x 69.2 cm
Metropolitan Museum of ArtNew York

Two customers in nearly identical dresses—perhaps a mother and daughter or two sisters—are seen from behind in a millinery shop. This pastel may have been conceived originally as a picture of a shopgirl (at left) adjusting a hat on a stand. However, once Degas drew the woman underneath the hat at the right and added the back of the sofa, the identity of the figure at the left was transformed; shopgirls were not allowed to sit. (MET)