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The Arts Intel Report

A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler
A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler

Discover Degas & Miss La La

Edgar Degas, Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando, 1879.

Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, London WC2N 5DN, UK

When we think of Edgar Degas, we tend to think of dancers. The French Impressionist loved musculature in motion, which is why he also drew and painted racehorses. And then there is his painting Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando. Featured at the Fourth Impressionist Exhibition in Paris, in 1879, the year it was created, the work is unique for two reasons: it is Degas’s only depiction of a circus as well as his only depiction of a person of color: Anne Albertine Olga Brown (1858–1945), better known as France’s famous circus artist Miss La La. Now owned by the National Gallery in London, the painting is the focus of an exhibition that uncovers its fascinating backstory. Included in the show are Degas’s never-before-seen sketches of Miss La La as well as unpublished photographs of her. —Lucy Horowitz

Photo: © The National Gallery, London

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