Degas And The Acrobatic Miss La La

According to the Wall Street Journal: ‘In January 1879, Edgar Degas attended several performances at one of Paris’s many circuses of the time, a state-of-the-art, elaborately decorated iron-and-steel arena completed four years earlier in Montmartre, not far from his Rue Fontaine studio. The main attraction was Miss La La, a dark-skinned acrobat-aerialist performing for the first time in Paris. As one of her many amazing feats of coordination and strength, she was pulled almost 70 feet in the air, to the top of the arena, hanging from a rope by her teeth. Degas was fascinated. He even arranged for Miss La La to visit his studio. The result? The astonishing “Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando” (1879), an unforgettable image of a young woman in a gleaming white costume, soaring against the complicated geometry of rosy walls, dark windows and gray-blue girders and arches.’

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