About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.


  1. This is a great video about an important piece in art history! This particular work is timeless to me, and the fact that it challenged the status quo at the time it was created makes it even more successful, and we learn more about Degas as an artist, I think. It’s so important that we look to art history to understand where we’ve been and where we are going. For me, doing so teaches me the importance of taking risks and not creating for an audience. I am better, and my work is better, when I’m just being myself and following my instincts.

  2. One has to understand the social climate and etiquette of this time period as to why it was so severely criticized. It was considered ugly because of the mixed media he was using. In our time, this sculpture would probably very acceptable when you consider that flour sacks have used to create figurative forms. I love the expression on this young dancers face.

  3. I always said(I don’t know who originated the words) that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I quess it takes quite some time for people to appriciate innovative changes especially in painting and sculpture.

  4. Degas has been my favorite artist of the 19th century and I am always impressed with his intimate knowledge of his subject and his ability to take a fresh approach to it. His willingness to use different media and approaches reveals his search for the ultimate statement. His critics were more superficial.

  5. I think this is a beautiful piece. And, no, it didn’t deserve the harsh criticism it received. However, I can see how it would receive that sort of criticism because the time was “right” for advancement. But, sometimes people aren’t ready when the artistic world is.

  6. Loved the video! Enjoyed the information in reference to Degas. He is one of my artists to ‘look up to’ and I admire him greatly. Thank you for this educational peek into his art.

  7. I truly appreciate and enjoy your videos on artists of the past and you knowledge expressed. I believe there was and is ugliness said about art then and now. It has not changed over the years or will it. Many times it is due to jealousy and ignorance. Degas work is incredibly brilliant!

  8. I have a special place in my heart for Degas. We have several things in common. He had bad eyesight, he found it hard to call a piece finished and he was a great Monotype printer . In fact many of his dancers started out as Monotypes which he would then enhance with pastel! There are many great artists that did Monotypes but are never given a word about it in art history books!!

    1. Who am I to critique your work yet there is a need to say how much I like it. Love color but I have always been drawn to black and white. I once had a wonderful teacher who said the sophisticated eye does not need color. For me your work validates that.

  9. Very interesting discussion. I hear many artists ask “is it okay to paint with mixed media”. They seem to think it somehow diminishes the value or acceptability of the work. It’s also interesting that this work by Degas was not immediately accepted — only later is it accepted by the “art world”.

    1. A generic term. I think it depends on effect sought and expected longevity of the piece created. If longevity is not sought then you may do and add whatever to the piece. If longevity is sought then you should not ignore the laws of chemistry.

  10. This piece was created towards the end of Degas’s life from what I have read and learned. It was created a a time when he was considered blind. Each time I happen upon the age of this piece I like it even more. It has become a “friend” and a chance encounter creates a warm spot in my life. Did I mention how much I like it. Always remember most of the art critics of that period were pompous fools.

  11. I’ve always thought the girl in this sculpture had a bit of defiance in her chin. When I first saw it I wondered about what she was actually doing. She certainly wasn’t in full performance mode. I thought perhaps she was patiently enduring the corrections of a dancing instructor during a break in the practice.
    I can remember standing just this way as a young teen whenever scolded;…hands behind me, rocking on my back foot,…patient, silent, and petulant, waiting for the scolding to be over.

    Now, after hearing the back-story about the model, I’m pretty sure I guessed it all those years ago. Imagine coming from a life of hardship into the world of ballet. You’d be in constant fear of losing your new found elevated place. Proud and terrified all at once. That’s what I see in her…and I find her beautiful for it.

  12. When I first saw Degas’ Little Dancer I wept.
    I wept for the pain in that little girl’s face.
    I wept for the tenderness of Dega creating such a sculpture.
    I wept for the sheer beauty of the sculpture itself.

  13. Half of the appeal in Jason’s posts is learning about other artists and seeing their work. For example, I just went to Jerry Ruggiero’s website and Lynda Pogue’s. Both made my heart glad.



  14. While I like Degas’ work, he was a misogynist, big time. And it’s wonderful that your daughter does not have to withstand the trials and tribulations that young Parisian ballerinas did in earlier days. They were often considered prostitutes and forced into miserable lives even at very young ages. They were called “les petites rats” – little rats – and there was a room behind the stage where assignations with their “sponsors” – the older men who preyed on them – were made. Degas was not remotely sentimental about what he depicted. Many of his ballet works show the men awaiting their victims sitting in chairs nearby. This is a revealing article that may interest you: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-sordid-truth-degass-ballet-dancers

    1. OMG, what an informative and revealing article, Michelle! Thank-you for this. I had no idea of the “life and times” of ballerinas in that epoch in Paris. While to those of us in 2023, this behaviour seems barbaric and horrid, all we have to do is look around our planet today. Not much has changed in various cultures and societies. Different faces, different ethnicities, different countries, different occupations. Hard to imagine. So I won’t. Sometimes living in my happy little bubble of acceptance of “what was” and “what is” is the least painful MO. That is, unless I can change things.



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