artist

Edgar Degas

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Between 1874 and 1886 there were eight Impressionist Exhibitions – Degas exhibited in seven of them. He will forever be linked with the movement and was the first among them to achieve success. Nonetheless, he was wary of the association. He described himself as an ‘Independent’ rather than ‘Impressionist’. He also repeatedly made disparaging remarks about the Impressionist practice of painting landscapes directly from nature - ‘en plein air’. Uninterested in capturing fleeting light effects, he famously said: ‘No art was ever less spontaneous than mine’. Unlike Monet, Degas was far more wedded to both his academic training and the primacy of drawing. A sense of independence from the group was also made possible by his family wealth. Nonetheless, he shared the Impressionists’ interest in contemporary subject matter – ballet, cafés, theatre and horse racing. A master of creating unconventional compositions, he was often influenced by photography and Japanese prints. As his eyesight failed, he increasingly focused on strongly coloured works in pastel and sculpting in wax.

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Works (77)

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