Orchestra Musicians, Edgar Degas
Edgar Degas
Orchestra Musicians
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Edgar Degas

Orchestra Musicians, 1872 (1874 – 1876)

63.6 x 49.0 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
SG 237
Acquired in 1912
On display, 1st upper level, Modern Art, room 4


About the Work

Degas chose an unusual perspective for this painting: he shows the ballet dancers from one of the orchestra musician’s point of view. The painting is an early example of his great interest in the world of opera and ballet. The composition is the result of a gradual process of revision. Though he had begun painting it in 1872, Degas started changing the painting’s format by removing and adding pieces of the canvas somewhere between 1874 and 1876 – turning the original landscape format into a portrait format. Thus, he achieved an equal presence of music and dance.

Audio & Video

  • Basic information
  • Focus on art history
  • Focus on cultural history
  • Kunst|Stück – Edgar Degas: Die Orchestermusiker
    Sammlungshighlights des Städel Museums in unterhaltsamen und informativen Filmen – das sind die Kunst|Stücke. Entdecken Sie spannende Details zu Kunstwerken aus ungewöhnlichen Blickwinkeln in unter zwei Minuten. Edgar Degas: Die Orchestermusiker (1872), Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main. https://sammlung.staedelmuseum.de/de/werk/die-orchestermusiker#yt
  • Nikeata Thompson x „Die Orchestermusiker“ von Edgar Degas | STÄDEL MUSEUM
    Die Choreografin, Autorin und Unternehmerin Nikeata Thompson stellt mit ihrem ganz persönlichen Blick Edgar Degas Gemälde „Die Orchestermusiker“ (1872/1874–1876) aus der Städel Sammlung vor. Sie schaut sich die Lebens- und Arbeitsrealität von Balletttänzerinnen im Paris der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts genau an und wirft Fragen nach dem Zusammenhang von Arbeit, sozialem Status und Gleichberechtigung auf. Was erzählt uns die Kunst von gestern über das Heute? Und was hat das eigentlich alles mit mir zu tun? Die Filmreihe „Meinungsbilder“ verknüpft historische Zusammenhänge ausgewählter Kunstwerke der Städel Sammlung mit aktuellen gesellschaftlichen Diskursen. Mehr Informationen zur großen kulturellen Bildungsinitiative „Meinungsbilder. Anders sehen. Einander verstehen“ unter https://www.staedelmuseum.de/de/meinungsbilder #staedel #meinungsbilder

Work Data

Basic Information

Orchestra Musicians
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert unten rechts: Degas

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 1912

Work Content

Motifs and References


  • 48C753 more than one musician with instrument
  • 48C7312 viola, violoncello; double bass
  • 48C8422 female dancer


Research and Discussion


Object History
Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris
an Jean-Baptiste Faure (1830-1914), Paris, März 1874
an Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, October 1899
an Durand-Ruel, New York/Paris
Verkauf an die Stadt Frankfurt am Main, 1913.


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

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Conservation and Restoration

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