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Edgar Degas | Sulking, 1870 | Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Two well-known personalities in the art world, the writer Edmond Duranty and model Emma Dobigny, posed for this early genre scene by Degas, set in an office, possibly a small bank. From the faithfully copied British racing print to the stylishly attired female protagonist, it recalls the work of fellow artist James Tissot. Yet for all the exacting detail, the subject of this picture remains elusive. The model's elegant visiting dress, curiously worn without a hat, and the informality of her pose may suggest a familial or intimate relationship, but Degas offers faint clue as to the cause of his sulking.