The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Convalescent

Object Details


The Convalescent


Edgar Degas (French, 1834 - 1917)




about 1872–January 1887


Oil on canvas

Object Number:



65.7 × 49.8 cm (25 7/8 × 19 5/8 in.)

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Object Description

Although the identity of the sitter in this portrait is a mystery, Edgar Degas conveyed her character by capturing the overwhelming sorrow to which she has succumbed. Posed with her head tilted and leaning against the back of her left hand, she appears weary. Her languorous expression and red-rimmed eyes, together with the limp right arm hanging at her side, suggest a physical or emotional malady, though nothing in the painting confirms the cause of her affliction. Hidden beneath a brown robe and full white gown, her pose is ambiguous; it is unclear if she sits, stands, or leans. The Convalescent attests to Degas's interest in the world of women--their physical characteristics and surroundings, and their complex emotional and psychological conditions.

Unlike traditional nineteenth-century portraits, which were commissioned and usually left the artist's studio upon completion, this depiction of an unidentified woman remained in Degas's studio for at least fifteen years. The painting is unconventional in other ways as well; The Convalescent is more psychologically suggestive and spatially ambiguous than typical portraits of the time, such as Franz Xaver Winterhalter's official portrait, Leonilla, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn. Degas's thick, unblended brushstrokes and flattened space bring the figure forward, conveying informality and intimacy.

about 1872 - 1887

Edgar Degas (L.657, L.658, L.658bis), French, 1834 - 1917 (Paris, France), sold to Durand-Ruel & Cie, Paris, 1887.

1887 - 1888

Galerie Durand-Ruel (Paris) (Paris, France), sold to Henry Lerolle, 1888.

1888 - 1929

Henry Lerolle, French, 1848 - 1929 (Paris, France), by inheritance to his wife, Madeleine (Escudier) Lerolle, 1929.

1929 - 1937

Madeleine (Escudier) Lerolle, French, 1856 - 1937 (Paris, France), probably by inheritance to her son, Guillaume Lerolle, 1937.


Probably Guillaume Lerolle, French, 1884 - 1954
Source: Archives of American Art, Jacques Seligmann & Co. records, Collectors: Lerolle, Guillaume, box 192, folder 37, p. 6, 'Inventoire de la Collection Lerolle'.

- 1954

Captain Edward Molyneux, 1891 - 1974 (Paris, France), sold to M. Knoedler & Co. and Pinakos Inc., 1954.
Source: GRI, M. Knoedler & Co. records, stock book 10, p. 132, no. 5756.

1954 - 1958

M. Knoedler & Co. (New York), founded 1846, dissolved 2011 (New York, New York) and Pinakos Inc., sold to John L. Loeb, January 2, 1958.
Source: GRI, M. Knoedler & Co. records, sales book 17, p. 361, no. A-5756; box 148 (sold alphabetical artists, 1907-1973), card for Degas, "Port. of Desiree Musson."

1958 - 1996

John L. Loeb, 1902 - 1996 (New York, New York), by inheritance to his son, John L. Loeb, Jr., 1996.

1996 - 2002

John L. Loeb, Jr., born 1930 (New York, New York), sold through Gagosian Gallery (New York, New York) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002.

Exposition Degas au profit de la ligue Franco-Anglo-Américaine contre le cancer: Peintures, pastels et dessins, sculptures, eaux-fortes, lithographies et monotypes (April 12 to May 2, 1924)
  • Galerie Georges Petit (Paris), April 12 to May 2, 1924
Degas: Portraitiste, sculpteur (1931)
  • Musée de l'Orangerie (Paris), 1931
Exhibition of Masters of French 19th Century Painting (October 1 to October 31, 1936)
  • New Burlington Galleries (London), October 1 to October 31, 1936
Edgar Degas, His Family and Friends in New Orleans (May 2 to June 16, 1965)
  • Isaac Delgado Museum (New Orleans), May 2 to June 16, 1965
Edgar Degas (November 1 to December 3, 1978)
  • Acquavella Galleries, Inc. (New York), November 1 to December 3, 1978
Degas (February 9, 1988 to January 8, 1989)
  • Galeries nationales du Grand Palais (Paris), February 9 to May 16, 1988
  • National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), June 16 to August 28, 1988
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), September 27, 1988 to January 8, 1989
Degas and New Orleans: A French Impressionist in America (May 1 to November 28, 1999)
  • New Orleans Museum of Art (New Orleans), May 1 to August 29, 1999
  • Ordrupgaard (Charlottenlund), September 16 to November 28, 1999
Degas at the Getty (March 7 to June 11, 2006)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 7 to June 11, 2006
Impressionist Interiors (May 10 to August 10, 2008)
  • National Gallery of Ireland (Dublin), May 10 to August 10, 2008

Lafond, Paul. Degas. 2 vols. (Paris: H. Floury, 1918-19), vol. 2 (1919), ill. facing p. 14.

Exposition Degas au profit de la ligue Franco-Anglo-Américaine contre le cancer: peintures, pastels et dessins, sculptures, eaux-fortes, lithographies et monotypes, exh. cat. (Paris: Galeries Georges Petit, 1924), p. 35, no. 38.

Jamot, Paul, and Paul Vitry. Degas: Portraitiste, sculpteur, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée de l'Orangerie, 1931), p. 54, no. 54.

Exhibition of Masters of French 19th Century Painting, exh. cat. (London: New Burlington Galleries, 1936), p. 31, no. 61.

Lemoisne, Paul A. Degas et son oeuvre. 4 vols. (Paris: Paul Brame et C. M. de Hauke, 1946; repr., New York and London: Garland, 1984), vol. 2, pp. 160-61, no. 316, ill.

Byrnes, James B. "Edgar Degas, His Paintings of New Orleanians Here and Abroad." In Edgar Degas: His Family and Friends in New Orleans, exh. cat. (New Orleans: Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, 1965), pp. 46, 51, pl. 8.

Russoli, Franco, and Fiorella Minervino. L'opera completa di Degas (Milan: Rizzoli, 1970), p. 102, no. 353, ill.

Edgar Degas, exh. cat. (New York: Acquavella Galleries, 1978), unpaginated, no. 9, ill.

Boggs, Jean Sutherland, et al. Degas, exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1988), pp. 184-85, no. 114, ill., entry by Henri Loyrette.

Boggs, Jean Sutherland. "Degas as a Portraitist." In Degas Portraits, exh. cat. Felix Baumann and Marianne Karabelnik, eds. (Zurich: Kunsthaus, with Merrell Holberton, 1995), p. 29, ill.

Feigenbaum, Gail, et al., eds. Degas and New Orleans: A French Impressionist in America, exh. cat. (New Orleans: New Orleans Museum of Art, with Ordrupgaard, 1999), pp. 190-92, 266, no. 21, ill., entry by Jean Sutherland Boggs.

Kessler, Marni Reva. "Ocular Anxiety and the Pink Tea Cup: Edgar Degas's 'Woman with Bandage.'" Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 5, no. 2 (Autumn 2006), (accessed November 23, 2010).

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 136, ill.

McLean, Janet, et al. Impressionist Interiors, exh. cat. (Dublin: National Gallery of Ireland, 2008), pp. 110-11, no. 29, ill., entry by Janet McLean.

Fredericksen, Burton B. The Burdens of Wealth: Paul Getty and His Museum (Bloomington: Archway Publishing, 2015), p. 401.