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The sinuous stretches and innocent twirls of young ballerinas at school have the habit of dancing across the mind’s eye at the mention of Degas. Their delightful poise and fresh beauty – on canvas or in bronze – is refreshingly light, at least until

Jacques Louis David (French, 1748–1825). Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier (1743–1794) and His Wife (Marie-Anne-Pierrette Paulze, 1758–1836), 1788. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, in honor of Everett Fahy, 1977 (1977.10).

Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906). Dish of Apples, ca. 1876–77. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1997, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002 (1997.60.1)

Georges Seurat (French, 1859–1891). View of the Seine, 1882–83. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Bequest of Mabel Choate, in memory of her father, Joseph Hodges Choate, 1958 (59.16.5) | This work of 1882–83 is one of the first studies he painted along the Seine on the industrial outskirts of Paris. It anticipates the setting for his first major painting, "Bathing Place, Asnières" of 1883–84 (National Gallery, London). #paris