The Belleli Family
Degas’ early masterpiece, The Bellelli Family depicts his aunt, her husband and their two little girls. It is believed that the artist drew each of the figures individually, later combining them in this unique portrayal of their family dynamic. The woman, Degas’ aunt Laura, wears a black dress in mourning for her recently deceased father, whose portrait hangs on the wall behind her. It is likely that this portrait hung at the Paris Salon of 1867, but it was badly hung and as a result was largely ignored by the critics. As a result, Degas kept it in his personal collection, where it remained until he left it to his dealer in 1913. In 1918, after his death, it was revealed an exhibition of the artist’s estate, and was immediately bought for 400,000 by the Luxembourg Museum.