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Edgar
Degas
France 
1834−1917
Exhibitions
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Biography and information
 

Edgar Degas, full name Iler-Germain-Edgar de Ha (fr Edgar Degas, July 19, 1834, Paris — September 27, 1917) — French impressionist painter, one of the founders of the movement, who took part in 7 of the 8 Impressionist exhibitions.

Features of the artist Edgar Degas: displaced compositions, figures cut off by the edge of the canvas, unexpected objects that cut and obscure the main characters, as if by chance caught, reportage moments. Edgar Degas, in all his favorite subjects, sought and wrote primarily the movement: washable women, jockeys before the start, ballerinas stretching, combing and straightening their hairstyles are busy with their lives and are not aware that they are being watched.

Famous paintings by Edgar Degas: "Blue Dancers", "Dance class", "Bathroom", "Gladilschitsy", "Opera Orchestra", "Riders before the start".

Edgar Degas didn’t seem to be interested in traditional artistic goals at all — neither to become famous today and sell paintings, to go down in history and to occupy several walls in the greatest museums of the world.

He wrote his most famous and recognized canvases in pastels. And pastel is such small pieces that create a very unreliable and short-lived layer on the surface of cardboard or canvas, and when it is fixed, the colors darken considerably. And so many brilliant paintings of the artist in the literal sense of the word are stored in museums. And you can look at them only once every few years — at special exhibitions. And numerous Degas sculptures made of wax are also not the most durable material. They were found after the artist’s death, in the basement. In modern museums are stored bronze copies of his wax sculptural etudes — images of horses and dancers.

Take care of celebrity and fame among contemporaries Degas also did not seek. Some of his paintings now put the date of writing, which indicates a twenty-year period of creation, for example. Friends joked that getting Degas to finish the picture can only be selected by her. He constantly redrawed, supplemented his work with new details, stole and bought back the already sold and presented canvases, achieving even more precise movements, even more natural postures, even more … perfection.

And when prices for works of Degas began to grow rapidly, he was genuinely upset. If his work is now so expensive, then for what fabulous money he will have to buy Delacroix and Ingres masterpieces! That was his real currency. Fortunately, Edgar Degas was one of those few artists who could not care about not starving over another sketch. He could focus on the essentials.

If you are suddenly asked to name which banker you can sincerely praise, and suddenly you don’t remember anyone at once, feel free to point out to Auguste de Gaus. Edgar’s father deserved it. He did not just let his son become an artist, he supported him in this decision, despite the fact that his son was the eldest and had to inherit the family business.

Edgar Degas, as if in gratitude, in his early work with sincere respect follows his father’s recommendation to focus on portrait painting — this particular genre, for de Ga-senior's reasons, should bring fame and money to a young artist.

In the early portraits Degas is still very little from the complex techniques and artistic techniques by which he is recognized throughout the world. He received a classical art education: a school of fine arts, an apprenticeship from the then famous artist Louis Lamotte, an obsession with old masters Edgar copies in the Louvre and in Italian museums. But already now, in the late 1850s, a rebellious photographic randomness of composition, detail, unpredictability of movements, elements that go beyond the limits of the picture is born in his portraits.

In the 60s, one of the most important events in the life of Edgar Degas takes place — a meeting with Edouard Manet. Precisely because Degas participates in 7 of the 8 Impressionist exhibitions, he is often interfered into a common "impressionable" cauldron. In fact, he has much more different with his colleagues than he has in common. Well, for example, he hated the plein air so much that he was ready to disperse all the artists going "on the big road", always wrote indoors, from all sides he studied the darkness and the harsh, artificial light of the ramp. In his paintings there is little momentary and accidental, they are thought out to the smallest details. Like his whole life.
Degas rarely left Paris, made only two real trips — to Italy and to New Orleans with relatives. He lived 25 years in the same house on the street Victor-Massa and was very hard going through when the authorities of Paris decided to demolish this house. Perhaps Degas intuitively hid his eyes from the sunlight, their shore, anticipating the approaching blindness. Clarified all the war.

In 1870, Degas volunteered for the Franco-Prussian war, eager to serve his homeland. But from the infantry regiment he was quickly transferred to artillery just because of the revealed eye disease. The war did not meet the patriotic expectations of the artist, but gave him many friends and the confidence that one day he would cease to see. Totally.

Ballet was his real passion. Degas bought a theater ticket for 20 years in a row, and only 15 years later the director of the Paris Opera allowed him to write behind the scenes and at rehearsals. Prior to this, the artist invited dancers to his studio, and sometimes just watched them, without making a single sketch. At times, they probably thought he was crazy, like those models whom he asked to just walk around the shop and comb.

At the last exhibition of the Impressionists in 1886, Degas presented a unique cycle of pastels with bathing, wiping, combing women. By that time, he had become a recognized, expensive, sought-after perfectionist artist who was always unhappy with his "products". He kept pastels over the steam and invented some drawing methods unknown to nobody, personally selected the frames for his paintings, quickly painted over the figure on the finished work, when they were ready to buy it for big money …

He crushed the sculpture "Fourteen-year-old dancer" dozens of times: "If I were given a full cap of diamonds, it would not give me the joy I experienced when I broke it for the pleasure of starting over again …" And it was the main thing.

Degas lived for 83 years, in the last 10 years he did not write anything and practically saw nothing. He daily walked around Paris and each time returned to the empty place where his house used to stand.

Author: Anna Sidelnikova

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Artworks by the artist
1,079 artworks total
Edgar Degas. Bath
65
Bath
1886, 60×83 cm
Edgar Degas. Riders before the start
18
Riders before the start
1862, 48.5×61.5 cm
Edgar Degas. Blue Dancers
185
Blue Dancers
1898, 65×65 cm
Edgar Degas. Jockeys before horse racing
3
Jockeys before horse racing
1879, 107.3×73.7 cm
Edgar Degas. Two dancers in green skirts
8
Two dancers in green skirts
1894, 139×79 cm
Edgar Degas. The orchestra of the Opera
21
The orchestra of the Opera
1870, 56×45 cm
Edgar Degas. Dancer at the Photographer’s Studio
18
Dancer at the Photographer’s Studio
1875, 65×50 cm
Edgar Degas. Ballet Rehearsal
17
Ballet Rehearsal
1877, 50×63 cm
Edgar Degas. Resting dancer
21
Resting dancer
1879, 64×59 cm
View 1,080 artworks by the artist