The tenderness of the portrait with its soft colors and the emphasis on the thick bandage seem to betray a certain sympathy that Degas felt for the sitter. Although the woman's identity is unknown, she may be Degas's sister-in-law Estelle Mousson, who began losing her vision in 1866. Degas visited his brother's family in New Orleans in 1872–73, which suggests a date for the work.
Artist Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917
Title
  • Woman with a Bandage
  • La femme au bandeau (alternate title)
Date between 1872 and 1873
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 13 × 9 3/4 inches (33 × 24.8 cm)
Framed: 21 3/4 × 18 1/2 × 2 7/8 inches (55.2 × 47 × 7.3 cm)
Credit Line Bequest of Robert H. Tannahill
Accession Number 70.168
Department European Painting
On View Modern C235, Level 2 (see map)
Signed Signed, lower left: Degas
Dupuis (possibly Paris, France);
June 10, 1891, sold by (Hôtel Drouot, Paris, France) auction Dupuis, lot 16 [as Chez l'oculiste];
1891, purchased by Hubert du Puy (Louviers, France) [for 250 francs];
Laurent (Paris, France);
December 8, 1898, sold by (Galerie Geroges Petit, Paris, France) auction Laurent, lot 3 [as La femme au bandeau];
1898, purchased by (Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, France) stock #4873 [for 2010 francs];
May 4, 1899, purchased by Raymond Koechlin (Paris, France) [for 4000 francs];
Denys Cochin (Paris, France);
March 26, 1919, sold by (Galerie Geroges Petit, Paris, France) auction D. Cochin, lot 9;
1919, purchased by (Ambroise Vollard [1866-1939], Paris, France) possibly on behalf of the Cochin family;
1924, by descent to Mme. Jacques Cochin;
1936, Denys Cochin Jr.;
(Ambroise Vollard [1866-1939], Paris, France);
1949-1950, (Paul Rosenberg & Co., New York, New York, USA);
November 14, 1950, purchased by Robert H. Tannahill [1893-1969] (Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, USA);
1970-present, bequest to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Grappe, G. "Edgar Degas." L'Art et le beau 3, no. 1 (1911): p. 25 (ill.).

Lafond, P. Degas, vol. 2. Paris, 1919, p. 14 [as Femme malade; incorrectly cited as collection Lerolle.]

Exposition Degas. Exh. cat., Galerie Georges Petit. Paris, 1924, p. 42, cat. 55.

Jamot, P. Degas. Paris, 1924, p. 91. [as Une femme qui a un bandeau sur son oeil malade.]

Manson, J.B. The Life and Work of Edgar Degas. New York, 1927, p. 39. [as collection Mme. Jacques Cochin.]

Degas. Pennsylvania Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1936, p. 22, cat. 17 (ill.). [lent by Denys Cochin.]

Lemoisne, P.A. Degas et son oeuvre, Paris, 1946-1949, vol. 2, p. 136, no. 275, (ill.); vol. 4 , p. 103.

Bouret, J. Degas. New York, 1965, p. 52. [as Femme malade.]

The Robert Hudson Tannahill Bequest to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1970, pp. 9, 27, 40 (ill.).

Rewald, J. "Theo van Gogh, Goupil and the Impressionists." Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 6e période, 81 (February 1973): pp. 65-108, p. 76.

Reff, T. "Works by Degas in the Detroit Institute of Arts." Bulletin of the DIA 53, no. 1 (1974): pp. 2, 9, 31-32, cat. 7 (ill.). [ca. 1870-1872.]

Kendall, R., ed. Degas by Himself. London, 1987, p. 130 (ill.).

Kendall, R. "Degas and the contingency of vision." Burlington Magazine 130 (1988): pp. 180-197, p. 187 (fig. 8). [as Chez l'oculiste.]

Degas. Exh. cat., Grand Palais, National Gallery of Canada, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Paris, Ottawa, and New York, pp. 182, 184, cat. 113 (ill.). [as La femme au bandeau.]

Degas Portraits. Exh. cat., Kunsthaus and Kunsthalle. Zürich and Tübingen, 1994, pp. 29-30. [as "less probably" Désirée Musson; "alternatively possibly the painter's sister, Marguerite De Gas Fevre."]

Degas and New Orleans: A French Impressionist in America. Exh. cat., New Orleans Museum of Art and Odrupgaard. New Orleans and Copenhagen, 1999, cat. 23, pp. 196-197 (ill.). [as Woman with a Bandage, 1872-1873.]

Degas to Matisse: Impressionist and Modern Masterpieces from The Detroit Institute of Arts. Exh. cat., the Phillips Collection. Washington, D.C., 2000, pp. 78, 139 (ill.).

Treasures from the Detroit Institute of Arts: Masters of Impressionism and Modern Art. Exh. cat., Sogo Museum of Art, et al. Yokohama, 2001, pp. 32, 54, no. 5, (ill.) p. 55.