"My early work was heavily influenced by Degas. This is one of my favorite pieces...” - Joe Rubinstein
Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917) was a French artist especially identified with the subject of dance and movement. He famously created pastel drawings and oil paintings of ballerinas, as well as bronze sculptures, prints and drawings. Art historians credit Degas for demonstrating high levels of psychological complexity in his portraits, and a keen ability for the portrayal of human isolation.
The sculpture was first exhibited in 1881. Titled, ‘The Little Dancer of Fourteen Years’, this nearly life-size wax figure with real hair and dressed in a cloth tutu provoked a strong reaction from critics, most of whom found its realism extraordinary but denounced the dancer as ugly.
Joe Rubinstein came to paint this portrait composition after repeatedly discovering an exhibition of ‘The Little Dancer of Fourteen Years’ at museums around the United States. While touring comic culture events, Joe often steps out into the city to visit a local gallery or museum. His admiration for Degas and continued interaction with the little ballerina inspired his creation.
"My early work was heavily influenced by Degas. This is one of my favorite pieces. I thought her body gesture was best seen in profile. I love her face so much so I layered the close up and full figure and did it in watercolor to speak more to her delicacy.” – Joe Rubinstein
Josef "Joe" Rubinstein, born in Germany 1958 is a Hall of Fame comic book artist whose storied career spans more than four decades with notable credits that include the acclaimed 1982 Wolverine mini-series, the Infinity Gauntlet series and The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Joe is known to be the artist to have given artist Art Adams (the Uncanny X-Men) his first professional work and nurtured the careers of Kyle Baker (Plastic Man), Jose Marzan, Jr. (The Flash) and Dale Keown (The Incredible Hulk). Joe’s record-setting post on Marvel Comics' saw him ink more pencillers than any other inker in history (and more than 2,500 comic books). He currently enjoys exploring painting techniques and creating portraits.