The acrobat Miss La La caused a sensation when she performed at the Cirque Fernando in Paris. Here she is shown suspended from the rafters of the circus dome by a rope clenched between her teeth.
For several successive evenings in January 1879, Edgar Degas attended performances at the Cirque Fernando. For her extraordinary act, Miss La La was slowly hoisted nearly seventy feet into the circus's domed roof, suspended solely from a rope clenched between her teeth. Degas sought out such striking modern subjects, concentrating on figures in arresting poses. In January 1879 Degas produced a number of studies of the performer and the circus building - drawings, pastels, and an oil sketch - before creating his celebrated painting, Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando.
The painting was exhibited at the fourth Impressionist exhibition held in April 1879.