One of Edgar Degas’ iconic “Little Dancer” sculptures broke the artist’s auction record Thursday when it sold for $41.6 million from the collection of the late Anne Bass, the former wife of an oil billionaire who championed American ballet.

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“La Petite Danseuse de quatorze ans,” or “Little Dancer of fourteen years,” is a bronze cast of the only sculpture that Degas ever exhibited in his lifetime, based on a young ballerina named Marie van Goethem who was studying ballet in Paris.

Thursday’s winning bid for the sculpture—which sold at Christie’s—surpassed the previous record price for a Degas work at auction, which was last set in 2015 when another “Little Dancer” bronze sold for $24.8 million,

The record-breaking bronze last belonged to Bass, a longtime patron of the New York City Ballet and the one-time wife of Texas oil billionaire Sid Bass, who is worth $3.5 billion according to Forbes’ real-time wealth tracker.

This bronze was commissioned in August 1927 from the distinguished Hebrard foundrywhich Degas’ family tapped after the artist’s death to cast the sculptures he left behind (though the Hebrard casts were created after Degas’ 1917 death, they are widely viewed in the art world as authentic pieces from the artist).

Bass acquired the sculpture from Sandra Paysonthe daughter of industrialist Charles Shipman Payson and his wife Joan Whitney Payson, a member of the prominent Whitney family and the first woman to own a major-league baseball team that she did not inherit (Bass’ longtime Fifth Avenue apartment in New York was also formerly occupied by the Paysons, Christie’s said).


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