Meet edgar degas

Meet Edgar Degas: Anne Newlands: Books

meet edgar degas

Edgar Degas was born in Paris France on July 19, to Célestine Musson De Gas and Augustin De Gas who was a banker. He was the oldest of five children. The Painting: In , the great opera baritone Jean-Baptiste Faure commissioned from Degas a picture depicting ballerinas of the Opera ballet corps at an. Degas duly registered at the Faculty of Law of the University of Paris in November , but made little effort at his studies there. In , Degas met Jean.

Edgar Degas | French artist |

Between and he painted a pioneering group of ballet rehearsal and performance scenes, such as his Dance Class offinding eager buyers for many of them and soon becoming identified with their theme. The dance allowed Degas to test his skills in a daring new context: Degas built on his knowledge of past art, but he cleverly directed it at audiences of his own day in his choice of subject matter; his views of backstage activity are conspicuously casual and occasionally scurrilous.

Self Portrait, by Edgar Degas

Prima Ballerina, pastel by Edgar Degas, c. Escaping the worst horrors of the Commune of ParisDegas left in for a protracted visit to his relatives in New Orleanswhere he pursued his experiments in family portraiture in spectacular works such as the Cotton Office at New Orleans Over this same period he began to describe a deterioration in his eyesight, complaining of intolerance to bright light and wondering if he might soon be blind.

The pictures Degas showed at the series of eight Impressionist exhibitions, held between andrevealed him at his most inventive. Visitors were frequently disconcerted by his images of popular entertainment or back-street squalor, depicted with a sharp eye for the topical gesture and heightened by a radical use of perspectivewhich embodied the extreme viewpoints of a newly mobile society.

Already famed for his dry humour, Degas seemed to tease his viewers by opting for ambiguityrevealing a glamorous nightclub singer in all her awkwardness, while elevating a tired laundress to near-Classical grandeur.

Degas was seen as the leader of a more traditionally skilled faction within the group, and his pictures were sought out by collectors.

Biography of Edgar Degas

His drawings include examples in pen, inkpencilchalkpastelcharcoaland oil on paper, often in combination with each other, while his paintings were carried out in watercolourgouachedistempermetallic pigments, and oils, on surfaces including card, silkceramic, tileand wood panelas well as widely varied textures of canvas. There was something contradictory about much of this activity: Degas invoked the techniques of the Old Masters while creating anarchic methods of his own.

He effectively developed the black-and-white monotype as an independent medium, for example, sometimes with an added layer of pastel or gouache, as in Dancer with a Bouquet Bowing The results can be exhilarating, notably when the effects of light and texture are subtly expressive of the chosen subject, but he soon tired of the technique. Between and he briefly returned to monotype, perfecting a new colour procedure in a dazzling series of landscapes, many—like Wheat Field and Green Hill—with pastel embellishments.

Such sequences were deeply challenging artistic exercises, allowing him to move beyond subject matter and to manipulate the finest nuance of gesture or detail, while seeming to elevate the fundamentals of picture-making—colour, form, and composition—to a newly independent level.

For some years Degas had also been quietly exploring the medium of sculptureusing wax and other materials to make modest statuettes of horses and a group of figures that culminated in the tantalizingly lifelike wax sculptureThe Little Dancer Aged 14 — Shown at the Impressionist exhibition ofthis work carried the possibilities of visual realism to new extremes by incorporating an actual, reduced-scale tutuballet slippers, a human-hair wigand a silk ribbon. Final years In Degas reached the age of 50 and confessed to his friends that he felt some disillusionment about his career.

Meet Edgar Degas

Already known for his abrasiveness toward visitors during working hourshe became notorious for his single-minded dedication to the making of art and for his hostility to journalists and the merely curious.

The next decade was one of continuous invention, as he gradually refined his artistic ambitions and shed the preoccupations of his middle years. After a controversial sequence of pastels in the Impressionist exhibition, which showed women bathing and drying themselves indoors and in the open air, Degas produced hundreds of obsessive studies of the nude female form on paper and canvas or in wax and clay.

While some of the earlier scenes had been considered voyeuristic and the models identified as prostitutes, these later figures avoid easy classification. The figure in The Morning Bath c. He hired models to pose in his studio for both his ballet and bathing scenes, often freely improvising his settings or utilizing familiar props. Just days after having completed his schooling inDegas registered as a copyist at the Louvre, where he made studies of Greek and Roman sculptures.

Degas duly enrolled in law school, but soon dropped out.

meet edgar degas

It is likely that through Lamothe Degas met Ingres in As a student, Degas frequently enlisted his immediate family as subjects. Degas made numerous copies of works by Michelangelo, Raphael and other Renaissance artists, but — contrary to convention — he usually concentrated on a detail, a secondary figure, or a head, so as to focus on the psychological aspects of human expression.

The influence of the Old Masters is evident not only in terms of subject matter, but also the opulent colours and dense brushwork. Although famous for horses and dancers, Degas began with conventional historical paintings such as The Daughter of Jephthah c. During his early career, Degas also painted portraits of individuals and groups; an example of the latter is The Bellelli Family c.

In this painting, as in The Young Spartans and many later works, Degas was drawn to the tensions present between men and women.

meet edgar degas

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, oil on canvas, by Edgar Degas By the late s 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. Fiocre in the Ballet La Source, exhibited in the Salon ofwas his first major work to introduce a subject with which he would become especially identified, dancers.

From 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. 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 Ballet Rehearsal on Stage and the 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.

Above the musicians can be seen only the legs and tutus of the dancers onstage, their figures cropped by the edge of the painting.

meet edgar degas

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'.

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". 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 physiognomyposture, dress, and other attributes.

In his Portraits, At the Stock Exchangehe portrayed a group of Jewish businessmen with a hint of anti-Semitism. In 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.

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.