Author Archives: Natalie Coletta

Artists said no to Degas’s Little Dancer

Dega's Little Dancer

Tate's "Little Dancer Aged Fourteen" by Degas

Why Henry Moore objected to the Tate’s purchase

London. One of the stars of the Royal Academy of Arts’s forthcoming Degas show (“Degas at the Ballet”, 17 September-11 December) will be the bronze Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. Lent by the Tate, it has been in the museum’s collection since 1952. Buying the Little Dancer was opposed, however, by three of the London museum’s trustees. Leading British artists Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland and John Piper were concerned that the museum was getting value for its money.

The Tate bought the Little Dancer (1881, cast 1922) for £9,000 from London’s Marlborough Fine Art. The National Art Collections Fund (now Art Fund) contributed £6,000. A rival dealer, New York-based Curt Valentin, told Moore that the £9,000 price demanded by Marlborough was too high. Valentin was then Moore’s own dealer. [Learn more]