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The Tired Dancer

ca. 1920
20th Century
41 in. x 35 in. (104.14 cm x 88.9 cm)

Clark Hobart, American, (1868–1948)

Object Type: Paintings
Creation Place: North America, United States, California
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. William S. Porter
Accession Number: 1925.211
The Tired Dancer is one of five works by Clark Hobart in the Mills College Art Museum’s collection. Reminiscent of Edgar Degas's Impressionistic depictions of ballet dancers backstage, Hobart's work captures the backstage exhaustion, both physical and emotional, of an onstage performance. The performance is over, but the dancer in this portrait is still performing for the viewer. In the nineteenth century, tutus reverted to knee length from an ankle length dress to show off the dancer's precise point work. In this portrait, the dancer is poised, her toes pointed to show off her legs. Her heavily made-up face, necessary so she doesn't project a sallow complexion in the bright lights on stage, shows the results of labored breathing, a consequence of an extended period of physical exertion. It may also remind us of other aspects of a dancer’s life. Age diminishing her stamina and flexibility, she may also despair that in her profession being an object of the male gaze is more important than the dignity and reality of a single woman trying to support herself.

---Susan Prier, January 2022

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Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:

  • Frame Dimensions: 46 1/4 in. x 40 in. x 2 in. (117.48 cm x 101.6 cm x 5.08 cm)
  • Canvas Dimensions: 41 x 35 in. (104.14 x 88.9 cm)

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