Little Dancer Aged Fourteen

Camille Laurens, Willard Wood

Little Dancer Aged Fourteen
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Little Dancer Aged Fourteen

Camille Laurens, Willard Wood

She is famous throughout the world, but how many know her name? You can admire her figure in Washington, Paris, London, New York, Dresden, or Copenhagen, but where is she buried?

We know only her age, fourteen, and the work that she did, already grueling work, at an age when children today are in school. In the 1880s, she danced as a “little rat” at the Paris Opera, and what is often a dream for young girls now wasn’t a dream for her. She was fired after several years of hard work; the director had had enough of her repeated absences. She had been working another job, even two, because the few pennies the Opera paid weren’t enough to keep her and her family fed. She was a model, posing for painters or sculptors - among them Edgar Degas.

Drawing on a wealth of historical material as well as her own love of ballet and personal experience of loss, Camille Laurens presents a compelling, compassionate portrait of Marie van Goethem and the world of the artists' models themselves, traditionally overlooked in the history of art.    

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