A Cotton Office in New Orleans
In 1872, Degas traveled with his brother Rene to New Orleans, Louisiana, to visit their uncle, Michel Musson. After his departure in 1873 back to France was delayed, he decided to paint to pass the time, and intended this painting to be sold to a British textile merchant. But, a worldwide decline in cotton prices made it impossible to make the sale, and he instead exhibited the work in the Impressionist Exhibition in Paris in 1876. In 1878 it was purchased by the Museum of Fine Arts, making it the first sale of one of Degas’ works to a museum.