The Singer in Green, 1884
From now on his models were the people, especially the women, of modern, metropolitan Paris. On the one hand, these were the members of his own bourgeois social class and the places where they could spend their free time: racing arena, museum, theater and concert. On the other hand, he liked to portray women from the opposite end of the social ladder: laundresses and ironers, cleaning workers, prostitutes. This interest in social reality prompts the art scholar Werner Hofmann to assign Degas' work to realism. One of Degas' great themes and one that was also preferred by collectors was the dancer. Of the well over 200 works on the subject of ballet, only a little more than a fifth deal with the actual performance, the rest shows the dancers, almost always nameless at Degas, behind the scenes, at rehearsals or while resting.