Even though he was known mainly as a painter, from the 1860s onwards, modelling occupied an increasingly important place in the work of Degas, and it became his principal mode of expression by the end of his career.
Except for The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer, exhibited in 1881, his sculptures were unknown during his lifetime.
They were discovered only after he died in 1917. Out of about one hundred and fifty pieces found in his workshop, only seventy-three waxes could be saved. They were handed over to Hébrard who founded twenty-two series in bronze, using the lost wax method, and marked them from A to T. They were exhibited for the first time in 1921. The P series entered the Louvre in 1930.