Edgar Degas was born in Paris in 1834. In 1853 he began copying works in the Louvre and in 1855 he enrolled at Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts. He developed a great passion for opera and ballet performances. Unlike the Impressionists, with whom he exhibited, he preferred to work in his atelier. Beginning in 1885 Degas was permitted to make sketches behind the scenes at the Paris Opera. In addition to the world of the theatre, he painted horse races and female nudes. His subjects are distinguished by their distinct authenticity. His compositions, frequently cut off by the frame, feature distorted perspectives and are two-dimensional, presumably influenced by photography and by the Japanese woodcut. Degas also worked as a sculptor, but only exhibited one piece. The figure of a young dancer that he modelled in wax, with horsehair, a satin hairband and a tulle skirt, caused a sensation. Degas died in Paris in 1917.