Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas: Dancers

The art of Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas stretches across many different media and subject matter but he is perhaps most famous for his works of dancers and ballerinas. These pieces, though they were made over the course of decades, fit together in a cohesive exhibit. This exhibit is a mixture of oil painting, sketchwork, pastels and sculptures from 1873-1900.

This drawing was done in 1873 by Degas in his studies of dancers for his later art. These studies were in preparation of his upcoming works on ballet dancers in that period. This piece itself was likely never intended to be a work of art, but more of a practice run for another piece. It is a beautiful and raw representation of Degas's talents. This piece resides in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
This piece is Oil on Canvas, though the painter Giuseppe De Nittis and many critics saw it more as a drawing than a painting. The monochromatic neutral coloring of this painting gives this work a feeling of elegance and reality. There is a lightness in the dancers that gives the whole work an airy, weightless feel. This piece resides in Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
This piece is Pastel on Paper. It shows a dancer on stage performing a solo. The dancer is rendered in a dynamic pose, her tutu light and airy. While the dancer is a little bit crisper in detail, the background seems to be a frenzy of brush strokes with no obvious design. The color is muted, neutral, and elegant, much like the previous piece. This pieces resides in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
This piece is Pastel and Gouache on Paper. It is a shift in Degas's style of work. The colors in this piece are not the muted neutrals but are an explosion of color. His use of complementary colors make the dancers tutus stand out beautifully. The coloring of this piece is vibrant and along with the dynamic poses of the dancers gives it powerful life. This piece resides in the Museo Thyssen in Bornemisza.
This piece is a wax sculpture. This piece is nearly life size. It has a wig of human hair and was dressed in a real bodice and tutu. This piece was very controversial when it first made its debut due to its odd use of mixed media.
This piece is Oil on Paper laid on Canvas. Once again, Degas uses complementary colors of green and red beautifully to make the piece pop. Unlike many of his other pieces, these dances have very dark, hard edges but are lacking in detail inside the lines. Its a very blurred piece, lacking in much detail at all. This piece resides in the National Galleries of Scotland.
This piece is Pastel on paper. This is another great example of Degas use of complementary colors, this time blue and orange to give the piece and explosion of life. The dancers' dresses have great texture and detail. This piece resides in The Toledo Museum of Art.
This piece is a sketch, possibly pastel on paper. Its a rough sketch with a surprising amount of detail. There is some rough shading but like the first piece, it gives us a raw look at Degas's style and process. This piece resides in The Tokyo Fuji Art Museum.
Credits: All media
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