Edgar Degas: 11 works

A slideshow of artworks auto-selected from multiple collections

By Google Arts & Culture

Portrait of Estelle Musson Degas (1872) by Edgar DegasNew Orleans Museum of Art

'Edgar Degas was the only important French painter of the Impressionist generation to travel to the United States and make paintings of American subject matter. Degas himself grew up in France, but his mother was Creole and born in New Orleans, and he often called himself a "fils de Louisiane," or a "son of Louisiana."'

Mrs Jeantaud in the Mirror (circa 1875) by Edgar DegasMusée d’Orsay, Paris

'Whereas the academic painters focused on rendering the costumes, as the very official artist Henner did in his portrait of Madame Jeantaud, or rather of her dress, Degas transformed the genre with this highly original, lively image. A transitional space between realist painting which imitates the real world and synthetic painting which offers another reality, this painting triggered Degas' research into multiple viewpoints of the same object, an approach which seems to presage the Cubist portraits of Braque and Picasso.'

Sketches of Café Singers (1877) by Edgar DegasThe J. Paul Getty Museum

'In Degas's youth, his teacher Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres instructed him to "use lines, young man, many lines, both to remember as well as to copy nature."'

Ballet at the Paris Opéra (1877) by Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)The Art Institute of Chicago

'One of the nineteenth century's most innovative artists, Edgar Degas often combined traditional techniques in unorthodox ways. In "Ballet at the Paris Opéra," the artist creatively joined the monotype technique, rarely used in his time, with the fragile medium of pastel.'

Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (1878 - 1881) by Edgar DegasNational Gallery of Art, Washington DC

'Degas understood the predicament of the Little Dancer--what the contemporary reviewer Joris--Karl Huysmans called her "terrible reality."'

Dancer in Her Dressing Room (Circa 1879) by Edgar Degas (French, b.1834, d.1917)Cincinnati Art Museum

'"Dancer in Her Dressing Room" displays Degas's attraction to the decorative lines, bold foreshortening, and nonlinear perspective he admired in Japanese prints.'

Mary Cassatt (c. 1880-1884) by Edgar DegasSmithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

'Stifled by tradition, she regarded her exposure to the work of Edgar Degas in 1874 as a "turning point in my artistic life."'

After the Bath: Seated Woman Drying Herself (1885) by Edgar DegasThe Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

'This image is related to the suite of bather nudes that Degas showed at the final Impressionist exhibition in 1886. He affirmed his aim to show "a human creature preoccupied with herself--a cat who licks herself...It is as if you had looked through a key-hole."'

Visit to a Museum (about 1879 - 1890) by Edgar DegasMuseum of Fine Arts, Boston

'In reference to another work in the series, the perversely contradictory and impish Degas nonetheless remarked to British painter Walter Sickert that he wanted to "give the idea of that bored and respectfully crushed and impressed absence of sensation that women experience in front of paintings."'

Billiard Room at Ménil-Hubert (1892) by Edgar DegasMusée d’Orsay, Paris

'On 27 August 1892, Degas wrote to his friend, the sculptor Bartholomé, saying that yet again he had to postpone his return to Paris because he had just started another painting: "I wanted to paint, and I decided to try billiard rooms. I thought I knew a bit about perspective, I knew nothing about it, and thought I could replace it through a process of perpendiculars and horizontals, by trying hard to calculate the angles in the spaces. I really worked at it".'

Small Dancer Aged 14 (1921 - 1931) by Edgar DegasMusée d’Orsay, Paris

'When Degas died in 1917, 150 wax or clay sculptures were found in his studio. These statues had remained more or less unknown to the public while the artist was alive, except for Dancer Aged 14 which Degas had shown in the Impressionist exhibition in 1881.'

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