- Art Gallery -

 

Edgar Germain Hilaire Degas

Paintings

After the Bath, Woman drying herself

At the Cafe Chateaudun

Ballet Dancers

Beach Scene.

Combing the Hair (La Coiffure)

Hélène Rouart in her Father's Study

Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando

Portrait of Elena Carafa

Princess Pauline de Metternich

Promenade beside the Sea

Russian Dancers

Young Woman with Ibis

Dancers Practicing at the Barre

The Rehearsal of the Ballet Onstage

The Dancing Class

Three Dancers Preparing for Class

A Group of Dancers

After the bath woman drying herself

After the Bath. Seated Woman Drying Herself

At the Races in the Countryside

Ballet at the Paris Opera

Resting Dancer

The Ballet

Ballet Dancer with Arms Crossed

Ballet Rehearsal on Stage

Before the Performance

Billiard Room at Menil-Hubert

Dancers

Dancers

Dancers at the Barre

After the Bath (Woman Drying Herself)

Interior

The Ballet Class

Getting out of the bathtub

Ballett, seen from a Loge

Ballet rehearsal


Ballet rehearsal


Ballet hall of the opera in the Rue Peletier


Ballet School


Ballet scene


Stage rehearsal


The ballet


The millinery business ( In the milliner )


The Absinthe


The amateur


The dance hall


The curtain falls


New Orleans Cotton Exchange


The Body Care


The Prima Ballerina


Singer with a Glove


The Dancer at the Photographer


The Dance Class


Three Russian Dancers

Three Dancers


Three dancers in a practice room


End of the Arabesque


Woman at the window


Woman at Her Toilette


Woman at Her Toilette


Woman at Her Toilette


Woman while rubbing


Woman in the tub , her back washing


Woman in the bathtub


Rehearsal of the ballet on stage


Hand study


Harlequin and Colombine


Riders before the start


In the concert café " Les Ambassadeurs "


In the concert café : The Song of the Dog


In the Tuileries : Woman with a Parasol


Racehorses in Front of the Grandstand.


Kneeling woman


Copy of Menzel's Ballsouper


After the Bath


After the Bath


After the Bath Woman Drying Herself


Horse racing prior to the start


Portrait of the Bellelli Family


Portrait of Madame René de Gas


Portrait of Miss Cassatt, holding the cards


Portrait of Diego Martelli


Portrait of Count Lepic and His Daughters


Portrait of Henri Valpinçon


Portrait of a young woman


Portrait of Mademoiselle Dobigny


Rider in a Landscape


Racehorses : The Training


Racehorses at Longchamp


Lake and Mountains


Self-portrait


Bowing dancers


Seated Woman


Still life with lizard


Beach at low tide


Dancer


Dancer


Dancer in her box


Dancer with bouquet ( Star of the Ballet )


Dancers


Dancers


Dancers at the barre


Dancers behind a backdrop


Dancers their shoes binding


Dancers in the Foyer


Dancers in Blue


Dancers in a landscape


Dancers in Green


Dancers in pink between the scenes


Theater loge


Four dancers


Prior to the start ( jockeys during training )


During the dance lesson : Madame Cardinal


Two ironing women


Two women washing

Before the Race

Dancers at Green-Room

Dancers behind the Scenes

Landscape, the Sunset

Drawings

Woman Drying Her Foot

Woman Combing Her Hair

Woman with a Towel

Two Dancers

Bather Drying Herself

Portraits at the Stock Exchange

Woman Bathing in a Shallow Tub

The Singer in Green

Woman in Yellow

Woman Standing

Dancer

Dancer Adjusting Her Slipper

Dancer Stretching

Nude rising in the bathtub


Nude Study of a rider


On a bed resting girl


On a chaise lounge sitting and drying off, female nude


Ballet dancer in three-quarter front view


Ballet dancer from behind


Ballet dancers in half figure


At the milliner


At the milliner


When styling


When styling


Ironer against the light


Lady with binoculars


The Opera Glass


Ceiling construction of the Circus Fernando


The violinist


The violinist


The green dancers


The singer Rose Caron with raised left arm , back figure


The strengthening after the bath


The dancer Josephine Gaujelin


The dance rehearsal


The daughter of Jephthah

The Entertainment

The fourteen year old dancer


Double Portrait of Giovanna and Giulia Bellelli


Three Nuns


Three Nuns


Three horses , seen from behind


Three Russian Dancers


Three Studies of a horse- jockeys


Three studies on the hindquarters of a horse


Three Dancers behind the scenes


Fan blade : dancers


Figure with a long robe


Figure study after Botticelli


Figure Study after Michelangelo


Figure studies after Michelangelo


Figure studies after Michelangelo


robe study


robe studies


Houses on cliffs above a bay


Hermann de Clermont


Jockey on trotting horse , in profile


Jockey in profile


Jockey leaning back in the saddle


Jockey bent forward in the saddle standing


Jockeys during training


John the Baptist


Young lady in street costume


Young Roman


Little dancer on the pole


Little Dancer , is resting


Nude boy in profile with his ​​legs spread


Nude boy with arms raised and legs spread


Compositional study after Poussin


Compositional study after Uccello


Concert Café singer


Concert Café singer at the lecture


Head Study of Raphael


Coastline at sunset


Lala , hanging with the teeth on the trapeze


Ludovic Halévy


Girl with guitar


Male Nude in step position


Male Nude with an angled left arm



Male Nude with crossed arms behind his head


Mary Cassatt with Puppy


Miss Lala at the Circus Fernando


Mme Ernest May as a woman in childbed


Mme Henri Rouart before a Tanagrastatuette


After the Bath


After the bath : female nude , the feet drying


Horse in a walking stance


Portrait of Ellen Andrée


Portrait of Giovanna Bellelli


Portrait of Hélèna Hertel


Portrait of Josephine Gaujelin


Portrait of Julie Burtey


Portrait of Julie Burtey


Portrait of Madame Lisle


Portrait of Marguerite de Gas


Portrait of Marguerite de Gas


Portrait of Marie Lucie Millaudon


Portrait of Marie Thérèse Morbilli


Portrait of Mathilde Musson - Bell


Portrait of Mlle Dembowski


Portrait of Mme Ernest May


Portrait of Rosa Adelaida Morbilli


Portrait of Alexis Rouart


Portrait of Auguste de Gas


Portrait of bassist M. Gouffé


Portrait of Diego Martelli


Portrait of Edouard Manet at the races


Portrait of Edouard Manet , sitting


Portrait of the young René de Gas


Portrait of René de Gas (?)


Portrait of René de Gas (?)


Portrait of Ulysse


Portrait of a Lady


Portrait study of Elisabeth of Austria


Portrait study after Bacchiacca


Portrait study after Gentile Bellini


Rider


Rider on horse standing


Rider on horse trotting


Rider with red jacket


Equestrian Portrait


Back view of a dancer


Russian dancer


self-portrait


self-portrait


Sitting young woman with arms crossed


Seated Dancer , her shoelace tying


Seated Dancer , her shoelace lacing


Seated Dancer , her shoe adjusting


Seated Dancer in Profile , the hand on the neck


Seated Dancer with outstretched left leg


Seated Dancer with raised right leg


Seated Nude combing


Seated Male Nude


Sitting back nude


Seated female nude on drying


Seated female nude , neck and back Sponging


Seated Female back nude when combing


Sitting girl combing


Standing stripped to the waist


Bent standing with arms extended to the side


Standing Horse


Standing Horse in Profile


Beach at low tide


Study of a violinist


Study after Benozzo Gozzoli


Study after Benozzo Gozzoli


Study for a doorkeeper from Asurnasirpals III palace.


Studies for an antique boy head , leg and foot studies


Studies for an antique head , leg and foot studies


Study sheet with kneeling dancer and arm study


Study sheet with portrait and figure studies


Study sheet with Roman wrestler


Study sheet with six portrait studies


Study sheet with self-portrait and detail studies


Study sheet with a seated dancer in adjusting the stocking


Study sheet with four studies of a jockey


Study sheet with female act in step position and the Right Arm


Dancer at the barre


Dancer at the barre


Dancer at the barre


Dancer at the barre


Dancer at a pillar


Dancer , her shoulder tape knoting


Dancer her girdle binding


Dancer in backlight


Dancer in profile , arms on hips


Dancer in sidelight


Dancer in half figure , her shoulder tape knoting


Dancer in half figure with crossed arms behind her head


Dancer in half figure with crossed arms behind her head


Dancer slipping into her shoe


Dancer in step position


Dancer in step position


Dancer bent slightly forward


Bent dancer with arms bent , forward


Dancer with raised left leg


Dancer with raised right leg


Dancer with arms outstretched


Dancer with arms outstretched


Dancer with double bass


Dancer with a bouquet of flowers


Dancer with raised right arm


Dancer with arms raised


Dancer with arms raised


Dancer with a Fan


Bent dancer with arms stretched forward


Dancer with the right leg stretched forward


Dancer with bare torso and arms raised


Dancer with side arms outstretched


Dancers at the barre


Dancers on Stage


Dancers on Stage


Trumpet blowing angel


Trumpet blowing angel in profile


Four jockeys before the start


Four studies of a rider


Four studies by a Jockey


Four dancers behind the scenes


Four dancers behind the scenes


Four dancers in half figure


Four willow stems


Before the race


In front of a standing lady chair


Leaning forward bach nude female , legs Sponging


Female Nude on the rim , legs Sponging


Female Nude on the rim , legs Sponging


Female Nude on the rim , legs Sponging


Female Nude , hair drying


Female Nude in the bathtub with erected right leg


Female Nude after bath


female half nude


Female back when washing in the bath


Female back with towel and sponge


Female back with left leg raised


Maid with a cup


Two ironers while reading a letter


Two jockeys


Two jockeys


Two jockeys


Two young ladies in street costume


Two girls in reading and combing


Two Seated Women


Two studies of the fourteen year old dancer


Two Dancers


Two Dancers


Two Dancers


Two Dancers


Two dancers at the barre


Two Dancers on a Bench


Two dancers behind the scenes


Two Dancers in the jersey


Two Dancers on a Bench nude


Two trotting horses

Two laundresses and horses

Illustrations

At the sea beach


On the stage


Rest


Rest on the bed


Aux Ambassadeurs


Aux Ambassadeurs


Bathers


At the toilet


When standing up


When combing


On leaving the bath


On leaving the bath


Mountain landscape


Mountain landscape ( rock landscape )


Dawn in the Pyrenees


Dante and Virgil


The famous dinner on Friday


The Cap Hornu

The Feast of the brothel owner

The Feast of the brothel owner


The Foyer


The Foyer


The conversation


The Song of the Dog


The meeting


The bath tub


The river


The Jockey


The customer


The man with the beard


The man with the pipe


The rider gets on his horse on


The reputable customer


The Dream


The nurse


The trees


The ironers


The ironers


The ironers , detail


Family on a walk


The woman with the fan


The Gadrobe the actress


The Big Hair


The Infanta Margareta


The coffee house singer


The children of the Cardinal in conversation


The Loge


The actress Ellen Andrée


The road


The road in the forest


The toilet ( the bathroom )


Three motifs


The basin

The Willows


village


Three Dancers


Three Dancers, detail


An admirer of the corridor behind the stage


A lake in the Pyrenees


A singer


Woman at Her Toilette


Woman wearing stockings


Woman, the light extinguishing


Woman in profile


Woman with striped vest


Woman beside a bathtub


Women in cafe


Bust of a Woman


Miss Bécat in " Ambassadeur "


Green Landscape


Greeting dancer on stage


Autumn in the mountains


Autumn Landscape


Offstage


In the Cirque Medrano and female nude


In the corridor behind the stage


In the rain

In anticipation


intimacy


Coffee House Concert


Small dressing room


conversation


Conversation in the foyer


Head of a Woman


Head of a Woman


Head of a Woman with earrings


Head of a man and a woman


landscape


landscape


landscape


Landscape in Burgundy


Landscape with clear sky


Reading in the lamplight


Light phenomenon in the mountains

Ludovic Halévy


Ludovic Halévy backstage


Ludovic Halévy in conversation


Mary Cassatt at the Louvre


Mary Cassatt at the Louvre


Mary Cassatt at the Louvre


Mary Cassatt at the Louvre


moon rising


After the Bath


After the Bath


After the Bath


After the Bath


After the Bath


Nude woman in her room


Nude woman back figure


Pauline and Virginie while chatting


Pauline and Virginie while chatting


Horse in profile


Horses on the meadow


Portrait of Nathalie Wolkonska


Portrait of Marguerite de Gas


Portrait of Alphonse Hirsch


Portrait of Edouard Manet


Portrait of Edouard Manet


Portrait of Edouard Manet


Portrait of Edouard Manet


Portrait of Joseph Tourny


Portrait of René de Gas


Portrait of Rene Hillaire


Portrait of a woman


Portrait of a woman


Portrait of a young man with beret


Reddish landscape


Singer from the cafe


Castle with Fontaine


self-portrait


self-portrait


Siesta - Brothel Scene


Siesta in the salon


Seated in an armchair prostitute


Seated Dancer


Woman standing in a bathtub


Woman standing in a bathtub


Standing naked woman at her toilet


Standing naked woman


Standing dancer at the edge of the stage


Squall in the mountains


Dancer , her shoe wearing


Dancer in position "Four "


Dancer , back view


Dancers backstage


Torso of a Woman


Torso of a Woman


Four female heads


During the coffee house concert


Forest in the mountains


Two trees


Two Women


Two Women


Two art lovers


Two men and two dancers


Two Dancers

Sculptures

Woman Rubbing Her Back with a Sponge,

Dancer at rest, Hands on Her Hips,Right Leg Forward, first study

Dancer Grande Arabesque, third time

Rearing Horse

Horse Balking

Seated Woman Wiping Her Neck

Dancer Putting on Her Stocking, First Study,

Dancer Looking at the Sole of Her Right Foot

The Tub,

The Masseuse

Woman Seated in an Armchair Wiping Her Left Side

Seated Woman Wiping Her Left Hip,

Head, Large Study for Portrait of Madame S.,

Woman Getting Out of Bath

Woman Taken Unawares

The Schoolgirl,

Woman Washing Her Left Leg, first study

Dancer, Fourth Position Front on Left Leg, first study,

Portrait, Head Resting on One Hand

Dancer, Arabesque over Right Leg, Left Arm in Line

Draft Horse

Study of a Horse (the ears are missing)

Dancer Putting on Her Stocking, last study,

Woman Washing Her Left Leg, second study

Spanish Dance,first study,

Picking Apples

Prancing Horse

Dancer Bowing

Dancer at Rest, Hands on Hips, Left Leg Forward

Dressed Dancer at Rest,

Dancer at Rest, Hands on Her Lower Back

Study in the Nude for Dressed Dancer

Woman Arranging Her Hair,

Pregnant Woman

Horse Walking with Foot Raised,

Dancer with Tambourine

Dancer Moving Forwards, Arms Raised,

Horse Standing

Dancer Moving Forward, Arms Raised

Dancer, Grand Arabesque, second time

Woman Stretching

Thoroughbred Horse Walking,

Little Dancer of Fourteen Years

Edgar Degas (US /deɪˈɡɑː/ or UK /ˈdeɪɡɑː/; French: [ilɛʁ ʒɛʁmɛ̃ ɛdɡɑʁ dəɡɑ]; born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas; 19 July 1834 – 27 September 1917) was a French artist famous for his paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. He is especially identified with the subject of dance; more than half of his works depict dancers. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, although he rejected the term, preferring to be called a realist.[1] He was a superb draftsman, and particularly masterly in depicting movement, as can be seen in his renditions of dancers, racecourse subjects and female nudes. His portraits are notable for their psychological complexity and for their portrayal of human isolation.[2]

At the beginning of his career, he wanted to be a history painter, a calling for which he was well prepared by his rigorous academic training and close study of classic art. In his early thirties, he changed course, and by bringing the traditional methods of a history painter to bear on contemporary subject matter, he became a classical painter of modern life.[3]
Early life
Edgar Degas c. 1850s

Degas was born in Paris, France, into a moderately wealthy family. He was the oldest of five children of Célestine Musson De Gas, a Creole from New Orleans, and Augustin De Gas, a banker. His maternal grandfather Germain Musson, was born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti of French descent and had settled in New Orleans in 1810.[4] Degas (he adopted this less grandiose spelling of his family name when he became an adult)[5] began his schooling at age eleven, enrolling in the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. His mother died when he was thirteen, and his father and grandfather became the main influences on him for the remainder of his youth.

Degas began to paint early in life. By the time he graduated from the Lycée with a baccalauréat in literature in 1853, at age 18, he had turned a room in his home into an artist's studio. Upon graduating, he registered as a copyist in The Louvre Museum, but his father expected him to go to law school. Degas duly enrolled at the Faculty of Law of the University of Paris in November 1853, but applied little effort to his studies. In 1855 he met Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, whom Degas revered and whose advice he never forgot: "Draw lines, young man, and still more lines, both from life and from memory, and you will become a good artist."[6] In April of that year Degas was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts. He studied drawing there with Louis Lamothe, under whose guidance he flourished, following the style of Ingres.[7] In July 1856, Degas traveled to Italy, where he would remain for the next three years. In 1858, while staying with his aunt's family in Naples, he made the first studies for his early masterpiece The Bellelli Family. He also drew and painted numerous copies of works by Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and other Renaissance artists, but—contrary to conventional practice—he usually selected from an altarpiece a detail that had caught his attention—a secondary figure, or a head which he treated as a portrait.[8]
Artistic career

Upon his return to France in 1859 Degas moved into a Paris studio large enough to permit him to begin painting The Bellelli Family—an imposing canvas he intended for exhibition in the Salon, although it remained unfinished until 1867. He also began work on several history paintings: Alexander and Bucephalus and The Daughter of Jephthah in 1859–60; Sémiramis Building Babylon in 1860; and Young Spartans around 1860.[9] In 1861 Degas visited his childhood friend Paul Valpinçon in Normandy, and made the earliest of his many studies of horses. He exhibited at the Salon for the first time in 1865, when the jury accepted his painting Scene of War in the Middle Ages, which attracted little attention.[10] Although he exhibited annually in the Salon during the next five years, he submitted no more history paintings, and his Steeplechase—The Fallen Jockey (Salon of 1866) signaled his growing commitment to contemporary subject matter. The change in his art was influenced primarily by the example of Édouard Manet, whom Degas had met in 1864 (while both were copying the same Velázquez portrait in the Louvre, according to a story that may be apocryphal).[11]

Upon the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Degas enlisted in the National Guard, where his defense of Paris left him little time for painting. During rifle training his eyesight was found to be defective, and for the rest of his life his eye problems were a constant worry to him.[12]
A Cotton Office in New Orleans, 1873

After the war, Degas began in 1872 an extended stay in New Orleans, Louisiana, where his brother René and a number of other relatives lived. Staying at the home of his Creole uncle, Michel Musson, on Esplanade Avenue,[13] Degas produced a number of works, many depicting family members. One of Degas's New Orleans works, A Cotton Office in New Orleans, garnered favorable attention back in France, and was his only work purchased by a museum (the Pau) during his lifetime.

Degas returned to Paris in 1873 and his father died the following year, whereupon Degas learned that his brother René had amassed enormous business debts. To preserve his family's reputation, Degas sold his house and an art collection he had inherited, and used the money to pay off his brother's debts. Dependent for the first time in his life on sales of his artwork for income, he produced much of his greatest work during the decade beginning in 1874.[14] Disenchanted by now with the Salon, he instead joined a group of young artists who were organizing an independent exhibiting society. The group soon became known as the Impressionists. Between 1874 and 1886 they mounted eight art shows, known as the Impressionist Exhibitions. Degas took a leading role in organizing the exhibitions, and showed his work in all but one of them, despite his persistent conflicts with others in the group. He had little in common with Monet and the other landscape painters in the group, whom he mocked for painting outdoors. Conservative in his social attitudes, he abhorred the scandal created by the exhibitions, as well as the publicity and advertising that his colleagues sought.[1] He also deeply disliked being associated with the term "Impressionist," which the press had coined and popularized, and insisted on including non-Impressionist artists such as Jean-Louis Forain and Jean-François Raffaëlli in the group's exhibitions. The resulting rancor within the group contributed to its disbanding in 1886.[15]

As his financial situation improved through sales of his own work, he was able to indulge his passion for collecting works by artists he admired: old masters such as El Greco and such contemporaries as Manet, Pissarro, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. Three artists he idolized, Ingres, Delacroix, and Daumier, were especially well represented in his collection.[16]

In the late 1880s, Degas also developed a passion for photography.[17] He photographed many of his friends, often by lamplight, as in his double portrait of Renoir and Mallarmé. Other photographs, depicting dancers and nudes, were used for reference in some of Degas's drawings and paintings.[18]

As the years passed, Degas became isolated, due in part to his belief that a painter could have no personal life.[19] The Dreyfus Affair controversy brought his anti-Semitic leanings to the fore and he broke with all his Jewish friends.[20] His argumentative nature was deplored by Renoir, who said of him: "What a creature he was, that Degas! All his friends had to leave him; I was one of the last to go, but even I couldn't stay till the end."[21]

Although he is known to have been working in pastel as late as the end of 1907, and is believed to have continued making sculptures as late as 1910, he apparently ceased working in 1912, when the impending demolition of his longtime residence on the rue Victor Massé forced him to move to quarters on Boulevard de Clichy.[22] He never married and spent the last years of his life, nearly blind, restlessly wandering the streets of Paris before dying in September 1917.[23]
Artistic style
The Dance Class (La Classe de Danse), 1873–1876, oil on canvas, by Edgar Degas

Degas is often identified as an Impressionist, an understandable but insufficient description. Impressionism originated in the 1860s and 1870s and grew, in part, from the realism of such painters as Courbet and Corot. The Impressionists painted the realities of the world around them using bright, "dazzling" colors, concentrating primarily on the effects of light, and hoping to infuse their scenes with immediacy. They wanted to express what they saw in that exact moment.

Technically, Degas differs from the Impressionists in that he continually belittled their practice of painting en plein air.[24] "He was often as anti-impressionist as the critics who reviewed the shows", according to art historian Carol Armstrong; as Degas himself explained, "no art was ever less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and of the study of the great masters; of inspiration, spontaneity, temperament, I know nothing."[25] Nonetheless, he is described more accurately as an Impressionist than as a member of any other movement. His scenes of Parisian life, his off-center compositions, his experiments with color and form, and his friendship with several key Impressionist artists—most notably Mary Cassatt and Édouard Manet—all relate him intimately to the Impressionist movement.[26]

Degas's style reflects his deep respect for the old masters (he was an enthusiastic copyist well into middle age)[27] and his great admiration for Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and Eugène Delacroix. He was also a collector of Japanese prints, whose compositional principles influenced his work, as did the vigorous realism of popular illustrators such as Daumier and Gavarni. Although famous for horses and dancers, Degas began with conventional historical paintings such as The Daughter of Jephthah (c.1859–61) and The Young Spartans (c.1860–62), in which his gradual progress toward a less idealized treatment of the figure is already apparent. During his early career, Degas also painted portraits of individuals and groups; an example of the latter is The Bellelli Family (c.1858–67), a brilliantly composed and psychologically poignant portrayal of his aunt, her husband, and their children. In this painting, as in The Young Spartans and many later works, Degas was drawn to the tensions present between men and women. In his early paintings, Degas already evidenced the mature style that he would later develop more fully by cropping subjects awkwardly and by choosing unusual viewpoints.
L'Absinthe, 1876, oil on canvas, by Edgar Degas

By the late 1860s Degas had shifted from his initial forays into history painting to an original observation of contemporary life. Racecourse scenes provided an opportunity to depict horses and their riders in a modern context. He began to paint women at work, milliners and laundresses. Mlle. Fiocre in the Ballet La Source, exhibited in the Salon of 1868, was his first major work to introduce a subject with which he would become especially identified, dancers.[28]

In many subsequent paintings dancers were shown backstage or in rehearsal, emphasizing their status as professionals doing a job. From 1870 Degas increasingly painted ballet subjects, partly because they sold well and provided him with needed income after his brother's debts had left the family bankrupt.[29] Degas began to paint café life as well, in works such as L’Absinthe and Singer with a Glove. His paintings often hinted at narrative content in a way that was highly ambiguous; for example, Interior (which has also been called The Rape) has presented a conundrum to art historians in search of a literary source—Thérèse Raquin has been suggested[30]—but it may be a depiction of prostitution.[31]

As his subject matter changed, so, too, did Degas's technique. The dark palette that bore the influence of Dutch painting gave way to the use of vivid colors and bold brushstrokes. Paintings such as Place de la Concorde read as "snapshots," freezing moments of time to portray them accurately, imparting a sense of movement. The lack of color in the 1874 Ballet Rehearsal on Stage and the 1876 The Ballet Instructor can be said to link with his interest in the new technique of photography. The changes to his palette, brushwork, and sense of composition all evidence the influence that both the Impressionist movement and modern photography, with its spontaneous images and off-kilter angles, had on his work.[26]
Place de la Concorde, 1875, oil on canvas, by Edgar Degas, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Blurring the distinction between portraiture and genre pieces, he painted his bassoonist friend, Désiré Dihau, in The Orchestra of the Opera (1868–69) as one of fourteen musicians in an orchestra pit, viewed as though by a member of the audience. Above the musicians can be seen only the legs and tutus of the dancers onstage, their figures cropped by the edge of the painting. Art historian Charles Stuckey has compared the viewpoint to that of a distracted spectator at a ballet, and says that "it is Degas' fascination with the depiction of movement, including the movement of a spectator's eyes as during a random glance, that is properly speaking 'Impressionist'."[32]
Musicians in the Orchestra, 1872, oil on canvas, by Edgar Degas

Degas's mature style is distinguished by conspicuously unfinished passages, even in otherwise tightly rendered paintings. He frequently blamed his eye troubles for his inability to finish, an explanation that met with some skepticism from colleagues and collectors who reasoned, as Stuckey explains, that "his pictures could hardly have been executed by anyone with inadequate vision".[33] The artist provided another clue when he described his predilection "to begin a hundred things and not finish one of them",[34] and was in any case notoriously reluctant to consider a painting complete.

His interest in portraiture led Degas to study carefully the ways in which a person's social stature or form of employment may be revealed by their physiognomy, posture, dress, and other attributes. In his 1879 Portraits, At the Stock Exchange, he portrayed a group of Jewish businessmen with a hint of anti-Semitism. In 1881 he exhibited two pastels, Criminal Physiognomies, that depicted juvenile gang members recently convicted of murder in the "Abadie Affair". Degas had attended their trial with sketchbook in hand, and his numerous drawings of the defendants reveal his interest in the atavistic features thought by some 19th-century scientists to be evidence of innate criminality.[35] In his paintings of dancers and laundresses, he reveals their occupations not only by their dress and activities but also by their body type: his ballerinas exhibit an athletic physicality, while his laundresses are heavy and solid.[36]
At the Races, 1877–1880, oil on canvas, by Edgar Degas, Musée d'Orsay, Paris

By the later 1870s Degas had mastered not only the traditional medium of oil on canvas, but pastel as well. The dry medium, which he applied in complex layers and textures, enabled him more easily to reconcile his facility for line with a growing interest in expressive color.

In the mid-1870s he also returned to the medium of etching, which he had neglected for ten years. At first he was guided in this by his old friend Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic, himself an innovator in its use, and began experimenting with lithography and monotype.[37] He was especially fascinated by the effects produced by monotype and frequently reworked the printed images with pastel.[37] By 1880, sculpture had become one more strand to Degas's continuing endeavor to explore different media, although the artist displayed only one sculpture publicly during his lifetime.
La Toilette (Woman Combing Her Hair), c. 1884–1886, pastel on paper, by Edgar Degas, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

These changes in media engendered the paintings that Degas would produce in later life. Degas began to draw and paint women drying themselves with towels, combing their hair, and bathing (see: After the Bath, Woman drying herself). The strokes that model the form are scribbled more freely than before; backgrounds are simplified.

The meticulous naturalism of his youth gave way to an increasing abstraction of form. Except for his characteristically brilliant draftsmanship and obsession with the figure, the pictures created in this late period of his life bear little superficial resemblance to his early paintings. Ironically, it is these paintings, created late in his life, and after the heyday of the Impressionist movement, that most obviously use the coloristic techniques of Impressionism.[38]

For all the stylistic evolution, certain features of Degas's work remained the same throughout his life. He always painted indoors, preferring to work in his studio, either from memory, photographs, or live models.[39] The figure remained his primary subject; his few landscapes were produced from memory or imagination. It was not unusual for him to repeat a subject many times, varying the composition or treatment. He was a deliberative artist whose works, as Andrew Forge has written, "were prepared, calculated, practiced, developed in stages. They were made up of parts. The adjustment of each part to the whole, their linear arrangement, was the occasion for infinite reflection and experiment."[40] Degas himself explained, "In art, nothing should look like chance, not even movement".[29]
Sculpture
External video Edgar Germain Hilaire Degas 044.jpg
Edgar Degas's Studies of Circus Performer, Miss Lala, Getty Museum
Degas' The Dance Class, Smarthistory
Video Postcard: The Millinery Shop (1879/86) on YouTube, Art Institute of Chicago

Degas's only showing of sculpture during his life took place in 1881 when he exhibited The Little Dancer of Fourteen Years. A nearly life-size wax figure with real hair and dressed in a cloth tutu, it provoked a strong reaction from critics, most of whom found its realism extraordinary but denounced the dancer as ugly.[41] In a review, J.-K. Huysmans wrote: "The terrible reality of this statuette evidently produces uneasiness in the spectators; all their notions about sculpture, about those cold inanimate whitenesses ... are here overturned. The fact is that with his first attempt Monsieur Degas has revolutionized the traditions of sculpture as he has long since shaken the conventions of painting."[42]

Degas created a substantial number of other sculptures during a span of four decades, but they remained unseen by the public until a posthumous exhibition in 1918. Neither The Little Dancer of Fourteen Years nor any of Degas's other sculptures were cast in bronze during the artist's lifetime.[41] Degas scholars have agreed that the sculptures were not created as aids to painting, although the artist habitually explored ways of linking graphic art and oil painting, drawing and pastel, sculpture and photography. Degas assigned the same significance to sculpture as to drawing: "Drawing is a way of thinking, modelling another".[29]

After Degas's death, his heirs found in his studio 150 wax sculptures, many in disrepair. They consulted foundry owner Adrien Hébrard, who concluded that 74 of the waxes could be cast in bronze. It is assumed that, except for the Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, all Degas bronzes worldwide are cast from surmoulages (fr) (i.e., cast from bronze masters). A surmoulage bronze is a bit smaller, and shows less surface detail, than its original bronze mold. The Hébrard Foundry cast the bronzes from 1919–1936, and closed down in 1937, shortly before Hébrard's death.

In 2004, a little-known group of 73 plaster casts, more or less closely resembling Degas’s original wax sculptures, was presented as having been discovered among the materials bought by the Airaindor Foundry (now known as Airaindor-Valsuani) from Hébrard’s descendants. Bronzes cast from these plasters have been issued by Airaindor-Valsuani in editions inconsistently marked and thus of unknown size. There has been substantial controversy concerning the authenticity of these plasters as well as the circumstances and date of their creation as proposed by their promoters.[41] While several museum and academic professionals accept them as presented, most of the recognized Degas scholars have declined to comment.[43][44]
Personality and politics
Self-portrait (photograph), c. 1895

Degas, who believed that "the artist must live alone, and his private life must remain unknown",[45] lived an outwardly uneventful life. In company he was known for his wit, which could often be cruel. He was characterized as an "old curmudgeon" by the novelist George Moore,[45] and he deliberately cultivated his reputation as a misanthropic bachelor.[21] Profoundly conservative in his political opinions, he opposed all social reforms and found little to admire in such technological advances as the telephone.[45] He fired a model upon learning she was Protestant.[45] Although Degas painted a number of Jewish subjects from 1865 to 1870, his anti-Semitism became apparent by the mid-1870s. His 1879 painting At The Bourse is widely regarded as strongly anti-Semitic, with the facial features of the banker taken directly from the anti-Semitic cartoons rampant in Paris at the time.[46]

The Dreyfus Affair, which divided Paris from the 1890s to the early 1900s, further intensified his anti-Semitism. By the mid-1890s, he had broken off relations with all of his Jewish friends,[20] publicly disavowed his previous friendships with Jewish artists, and refused to use models who he believed might be Jewish. He remained an outspoken anti-Semite and member of the anti-Semitic "Anti-Dreyfusards" until his death.[47]
Reputation
Dancers, 1900, Princeton University Art Museum

During his life, public reception of Degas's work ranged from admiration to contempt. As a promising artist in the conventional mode, Degas had a number of paintings accepted in the Salon between 1865 and 1870. These works received praise from Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and the critic Jules-Antoine Castagnary.[48] He soon joined forces with the Impressionists, however, and rejected the rigid rules, judgements, and elitism of the Salon—just as the Salon and general public initially rejected the experimentalism of the Impressionists.

Degas's work was controversial, but was generally admired for its draftsmanship. His La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans, or Little Dancer of Fourteen Years, which he displayed at the sixth Impressionist exhibition in 1881, was probably his most controversial piece; some critics decried what they thought its "appalling ugliness" while others saw in it a "blossoming".[49]

In part Degas' originality consisted in disregarding the smooth, full surfaces and contours of classical sculpture ... [and] in garnishing his little statue with real hair and clothing made to scale like the accoutrements for a doll. These relatively "real" additions heightened the illusion, but they also posed searching questions, such as what can be referred to as "real" when art is concerned.[50]

The suite of pastels depicting nudes that Degas exhibited in the eighth Impressionist Exhibition in 1886 produced "the most concentrated body of critical writing on the artist during his lifetime ... The overall reaction was positive and laudatory".[51]

Recognized as an important artist in his lifetime, Degas is now considered "one of the founders of Impressionism".[52] Though his work crossed many stylistic boundaries, his involvement with the other major figures of Impressionism and their exhibitions, his dynamic paintings and sketches of everyday life and activities, and his bold color experiments, served to finally tie him to the Impressionist movement as one of its greatest artists.

Although Degas had no formal pupils, he greatly influenced several important painters, most notably Jean-Louis Forain, Mary Cassatt, and Walter Sickert;[53] his greatest admirer may have been Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.[54]

Degas's paintings, pastels, drawings, and sculptures are on prominent display in many museums, and have been the subject of many museum exhibitions and retrospectives. Recent exhibitions include Degas: Drawings and Sketchbooks (The Morgan Library, 2010); Picasso Looks at Degas (Museu Picasso de Barcelona, 2010); Degas and the Nude (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2011); Degas' Method (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, 2013); and Degas's Little Dancer (National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., 2014).

References
Notes

Gordon and Forge 1988, p. 31
Brown 1994, p. 11
Turner 2000, p. 139
Brown, Marilyn R (1994). Degas and the Business of Art. p. 14. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
The family's ancestral name was Degas. Jean Sutherland Boggs explains that De Gas was the spelling, "with some pretentions, used by the artist's father when he moved to Paris to establish a French branch of his father's Neapolitan bank." While Edgar Degas's brother René adopted the still more aristocratic de Gas, the artist reverted to the original spelling, Degas, by age thirty. Baumann, et al. 1994, p. 98.
Werner 1969, p. 14
Canaday 1969, p. 930-931
Dunlop 1979, p. 19
Gordon and Forge 1988, p. 43
Thomson 1988, p. 48
Gordon and Forge 1988, p. 23
Guillaud and Guillaud 1985, p.29
"Michael Musson and Odile Longer: Degas' aunt and uncle in New Orleans". Degaslegacy.com. 1973-03-30. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
Guillaud and Guillaud 1985, p.33
Armstrong 1991, p. 25
"In the final inventory of his collection, there were twenty paintings and eighty-eight drawings by Ingres, thirteen paintings and almost two hundred drawings by Delacroix. There were hundreds of lithographs by Daumier. His contemporaries were well represented—with the exception of Monet, by whom he had nothing." Gordon and Forge 1988, p. 37
Gordon and Forge 1988, p. 26
Gordon and Forge 1988, p. 34
Canaday 1969, p. 929
Guillaud and Guillaud 1985, p. 56
Bade and Degas 1992, p. 6
Thomson 1988, p. 211
Gordon and Forge 1988, p. 41
Gordon and Forge 1988, p. 11
Armstrong 1991, p. 22
Roskill 1983, p.33
Baumann, et al. 1994, p. 151
Dumas 1988, p. 9.
Growe 1992
Reff 1976, pp. 200–204
Krämer 2007
Guillaud and Guillaud 1985, p.28
Guillaud and Guillaud 1985, p. 29
Guillaud and Guillaud 1985, p.50
Kendall, Richard; et al. (1998). Degas and The Little Dancer. Yale University Press. pp. 78–85.
Muehlig 1979, p. 6
Thomson 1988, p. 75
Mannering 1994, pp. 70–77
Benedek "Style."
Gordon and Forge 1988, p. 9
Cohan, William D., "A Controversy over Degas", Artnews, April 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
Gordon and Forge 1988, p. 206
"Bailey, Martin, "Degas bronzes controversy leads to scholars’ boycott", ''The Art Newspaper'', 31 May 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2013". Theartnewspaper.com. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
According to William Cohan, "a group of Degas experts" who convened in January 2010 to discuss the sculptures reached "universal agreement ... that these things were not what they were being advertised as", but declined to speak on the record, citing fear of litigation. Cohan, William D., "Shaky Degas Dancer Gets the Silent Treatment", BloombergView, 22 August 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
Werner 1969, p. 11
[1] Archived 1 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
Nochlin, Linda (1989). Politics of Vision: Essays on 19th Century Art And Society. Harper & Row.
Bowness 1965, pp. 41–42
Muehlig 1979, p.7
Guillaud and Guillaud 1985, p.46
Thomson 1988, p. 135
Mannering 1994, p. 6-7
J. Paul Getty Trust

Guillaud and Guillaud 1985, p. 48

Sources

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Auden, W.H.; Kronenberger, Louis (1966), The Viking Book of Aphorisms, New York: Viking Press
Bade, Patrick; Degas, Edgar (1992). Degas. London: Studio Editions. ISBN 1-85170-845-6
Baumann, Felix; Karabelnik, Marianne, et al. (1994). Degas Portraits. London: Merrell Holberton. ISBN 1-85894-014-1
Benedek, Nelly S. (2004). "Chronology of the Artist's Life". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Archived from the original on 2 May 2006. Retrieved 6 May 2006.
Benedek, Nelly S. (2004). "Degas's Artistic Style". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Archived from the original on 12 November 2006. Retrieved 6 May 2006.
Bowness, Alan. ed. (1965) "Edgar Degas." The Book of Art Volume 7. New York: Grolier Incorporated :41.
Brettell, Richard R.; McCullagh, Suzanne Folds (1984). Degas in The Art Institute of Chicago. New York: The Art Institute of Chicago and Harry N. Abrams, Inc. ISBN 0-86559-058-3
Brown, Marilyn (1994). Degas and the Business of Art: a Cotton Office in New Orleans. Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 0-271-00944-6
Canaday, John (1969). The Lives of the Painters Volume 3. New York: W.W. Norton and Company Inc.
Dorra, Henri. Art in Perspective New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.:208
Dumas, Ann (1988). Degas's Mlle. Fiocre in Context. Brooklyn: The Brooklyn Museum. ISBN 0-87273-116-2
Dunlop, Ian (1979). Degas. New York, N.Y: Harper & Row. OCLC 5583005
"Edgar Degas, 1834–1917." The Book of Art Volume III (1976). New York: Grolier Incorporated:4.
Gordon, Robert; Forge, Andrew (1988). Degas. New York: Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 0-8109-1142-6
Growe, Bernd; Edgar Degas (1992). Edgar Degas, 1834–1917. Cologne: Benedikt Taschen. ISBN 3-8228-0560-2
Guillaud, Jaqueline; Guillaud, Maurice (editors) (1985). Degas: Form and Space. New York: Rizzoli. ISBN 0-8478-5407-8
Hartt, Frederick (1976). "Degas" Art Volume 2. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc.: 365.
"Impressionism." Praeger Encyclopedia of Art Volume 3 (1967). New York: Praeger Publishers: 952.
J. Paul Getty Trust "Walter Richard Sickert." 2003. 11 May 2004.
Kendall, Richard; Degas, Edgar; Druick, Douglas W.; Beale, Arthur (1998). Degas and The Little Dancer. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-07497-2
Krämer, Felix (May 2007). "'Mon tableau de genre': Degas's 'Le Viol' and Gavarni's 'Lorette'". The Burlington Magazine 149 (1250).
Mannering, Douglas (1994). The Life and Works of Degas. Great Britain: Parragon Book Service Limited.
Muehlig, Linda D. (1979). Degas and the Dance, 5–27 April May 1979. Northampton, Mass.: Smith College Museum of Art.
Peugeot, Catherine, Sellier, Marie (2001). A Trip to the Orsay Museum. Paris: ADAGP: 39.
Reff, Theodore (1976). Degas: the artist's mind. [New York]: Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 0-87099-146-9
Roskill, Mark W. (1983). "Edgar Degas." Collier's Encyclopedia.
Thomson, Richard (1988). Degas: The Nudes. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd. ISBN 0-500-23509-0
Tinterow, Gary (1988). Degas. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and National Gallery of Canada.
Turner, J. (2000). From Monet to Cézanne: late 19th-century French artists. Grove Art. New York: St Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-22971-2
Werner, Alfred (1969) Degas Pastels. New York: Watson-Guptill. ISBN 0-8230-1276-X
Coverage of the Degas debate By Martin Bailey. News, Issue 236, June 2012

Further reading

Capriati, Elio; I Segreti di Degas (2009). Milano: Mjm Editore. ISBN 978-88-95682-68-6
Valery, Paul; "Degas, Manet, Morisot" Princeton University Press, 1989.
Dumas, Ann, Ives, Colta Feller, Stein, Susan Alyson, Tinterow, Gary, Cachin, Françoise, Durand-Ruel Godfroy, Caroline, Kendall, Richard, et al. (1997).The Private Collection of Edgar Degas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York : The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Distributed by H.N. Abrams.

External links

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