I discussed it as follows in 2015 :
Despite their opposition to the bourgeois taste for classical art, the Impressionist painters had indeed to seek resources for living. The solution is found by a dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, who organizes their first New York exhibition in the very year of the eighth and final exhibition of the Parisian group in 1886.
The Impressionists had cultivated their new methods of painting but they were not theorists. Their time as a group had gone. Manet was dead. Monet had fled the city. Newcomers relied upon the consequences of their innovations to go further in expression and color : Cézanne, Gauguin, van Gogh, Seurat.
Keen on the idea of free art, Degas accompanied from end to end the Impressionist movement which he once wanted to name Les Intransigeants (hardliners). His own technique is however different. He is the master of pastel in bright colors that do not cancel the drawing.
In that crisis of the end of Impressionism, Renoir and Degas go back to the influence from Ingres. Their humble women are busy in quiet occupations where full nudity does not shock : bathing, washing herself, combing her hair. In the hues of realistic colors, outdoor nudes by Renoir are ideal characters while indoor nudes by Degas are detailed in an excess that will be criticized as misogyny.
Around 1886 pastels by Degas display a high sensitivity in the colors of the nude dominated by flesh and by red hair. The blurred background helps to reach a sweet harmony. Later his colors will become bolder and less appealing.
The artwork for sale stages a woman seen from the back, combing her mane-like hair. This pastel on paper laid down on board 71 x 59 cm is not dated but displays the style and features of that period.
SOLD for £ 5.5M including premium