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Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas was born in Paris, into an art-loving family. His father was a wealthy banker and his mother was an American from New Orleans. He started painting seriously early on in life and at the age of 18 turned a room in the family home into a studio, making copies of art works in the Louvre.
However, his father expected him to study law, which he did so for a year, before giving up his studies to join the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. It was around this time that he met the renowned Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres who advised him to "draw lines young man, many lines".
At the Ecole , he studied drawing under Louis Lamothe, who placed emphasis on traditional academic art especially draftsmanship. He furthered his studies with a 3-year trip to Italy, where he spent all his time painting copies of Renaissance masterpieces by Raphael, Michelangelo and Titian. He was influenced also by the German realist history painter and closet-Impressionist Adolph Menzel History Paintings and Family Portraits.
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Returning to Paris in , he completed a number of historical works in a quasi-orthodox style. This was because, like Menzel, Degas' early ambition was to be a historical painter: Typical examples of his history painting at this time include: The preparatory drawings that he made for these paintings, however - studies of draperies and nudes, such as Standing Nude , Louvre - already display a confident, vigorous graphic line. In particular, they demonstrate a thorough mastery of the lesson of J. Ingres, whom Degas, throughout his life, held to be the greatest painter of his age.
At the same time he started painting portraits of families and friends, combining a classical and romantic style, while revealing great qualities of simplicity see for instance: In fact this remarkable series of family pictures, painted between and , are also close in spirit to Ingres in their association of a sense of reality with the concept of ideal beauty. His portraits of Therese Degas, Duchess Morbilli c. Moreover, his studies for the Therese Degas portrait, complete with Ingres-like drawing and delicate colouring - in pastel and oils - of the various other figures in the portrait, are among the most harmonious compositions he ever produced.
In , while copying a Velazquez in the Louvre, he met the celebrated Edouard Manet , who introduced him to a group of young progressive artists centred around Claude Monet Although he became a member of this so-called group, Degas felt that he had little in common with these Impressionist painters, most of whom preferred to paint outdoors - a habit he had little time for.
Even so, it was largely due to their influence, that over the next few years he gave up historical painting altogether and focused on more contemporary genre paintings of horse racing, ballet, cafes and street scenes. His development found critical outlet in the theories of Louis-Emile Duranty, whose article on " The New Painting " echoed his interest in Baudelaire's modernism and in unconventional subjects - for example the world of the turf and the theatre - highly coloured and artificial settings with which his social life had already made him familiar - see for instance: Very soon he became interested in the dance and in opera.
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He painted the Portrait of Mademoiselle Fiocre in the Ballet, 'La Source' , Brooklyn Museum , an odd, almost Symbolist painting, with an acid turquoise in the dancer's dress, and followed this with The Dance Foyer at the Opera , Louvre , with its pale blue-greys and yellows. It was during this period that he introduced new and original effects in his composition, which was now often asymmetrical - see The Orchestra of the Opera , Louvre.
In he enlisted in the National Guard during the Franco-Prussian war, which meant he did not have much time to paint. After the war, he took a trip with his brother Rene to see his mother's family in New Orleans. He returned to Paris in His father died the following year, and Degas inherited considerable wealth.
However, his brother had amassed enormous business debts, so Degas was forced to sell everything to avoid bringing scandal to the family name. For the first time ever, he became wholly reliant on selling his art for income. He was now worried about money and became more ill-tempered and pessimistic than ever. In spite of this misanthropy he was fond of Manet and Gustave Moreau and proved a helpful friend to the sculptor Albert Bartholome on the death of his wife, Perie de Fleury.
In Degas, along with Monet's band of progressive painters decided to organise their own group exhibition, outside of the strict confines of the highly conservative Salon. It opened on the second floor of 35 Boulevard des Capucines, in Paris. Degas showed 10 paintings, compared to Monet 5 paintings, 7 sketches , Renoir 6 paintings , Berthe Morisot 9 paintings , Cezanne 3 paintings , Pissarro and Alfred Sisley 5 landscapes each. Surprisingly, the group - christened "Impressionists", after Monet's composition Impression: Sunrise - was met with derision, both by the critics and the public and the show made a loss.
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Edgar Degas - Paintings & Drawings (Zedign Art Series)
Amazon Rapids Fun stories for kids on the go. Amazon Restaurants Food delivery from local restaurants. ComiXology Thousands of Digital Comics. Degas's only showing of sculpture during his life took place in when he exhibited The Little Dancer of Fourteen Years. A nearly life-size wax figure with real hair and dressed in a cloth tutu, it provoked a strong reaction from critics, most of whom found its realism extraordinary but denounced the dancer as ugly.
The fact is that with his first attempt Monsieur Degas has revolutionized the traditions of sculpture as he has long since shaken the conventions of painting. Degas created a substantial number of other sculptures during a span of four decades, but they remained unseen by the public until a posthumous exhibition in Neither The Little Dancer of Fourteen Years nor any of Degas's other sculptures were cast in bronze during the artist's lifetime.
Degas assigned the same significance to sculpture as to drawing: After Degas's death, his heirs found in his studio wax sculptures, many in disrepair. A surmoulage bronze is a bit smaller, and shows less surface detail, than its original bronze mold. Bronzes cast from these plasters were issued between and by Airaindor-Valsuani in editions inconsistently marked and thus of unknown size. There has been substantial controversy concerning the authenticity of these plasters as well as the circumstances and date of their creation as proposed by their promoters.
Degas, who believed that "the artist must live alone, and his private life must remain unknown",  lived an outwardly uneventful life. In company he was known for his wit, which could often be cruel. He was characterized as an "old curmudgeon" by the novelist George Moore ,  and he deliberately cultivated his reputation as a misanthropic bachelor.
He fired a model upon learning she was Protestant. His painting Portraits at the Stock Exchange is widely regarded as anti-Semitic, with the facial features of the banker taken directly from the anti-Semitic cartoons rampant in Paris at the time. The Dreyfus Affair , which divided Paris from the s to the early s, further intensified his anti-Semitism. By the mids, he had broken off relations with all of his Jewish friends,  publicly disavowed his previous friendships with Jewish artists, and refused to use models who he believed might be Jewish. He remained an outspoken anti-Semite and member of the anti-Semitic "Anti-Dreyfusards" until his death.
During his life, public reception of Degas's work ranged from admiration to contempt. As a promising artist in the conventional mode, Degas had a number of paintings accepted in the Salon between and Degas's work was controversial, but was generally admired for its draftsmanship.
Degas - the Impressionist who disliked Impressionism | Europeana Blog
His La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans , or Little Dancer of Fourteen Years , which he displayed at the sixth Impressionist exhibition in , was probably his most controversial piece; some critics decried what they thought its "appalling ugliness" while others saw in it a "blossoming". In part Degas' originality consisted in disregarding the smooth, full surfaces and contours of classical sculpture These relatively "real" additions heightened the illusion, but they also posed searching questions, such as what can be referred to as "real" when art is concerned.
The suite of pastels depicting nudes that Degas exhibited in the eighth Impressionist Exhibition in produced "the most concentrated body of critical writing on the artist during his lifetime The overall reaction was positive and laudatory". Recognized as an important artist in his lifetime, Degas is now considered "one of the founders of Impressionism".
Although Degas had no formal pupils, he greatly influenced several important painters, most notably Jean-Louis Forain , Mary Cassatt , and Walter Sickert ;  his greatest admirer may have been Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Degas's paintings, pastels, drawings, and sculptures are on prominent display in many museums, and have been the subject of many museum exhibitions and retrospectives. Recent exhibitions include Degas: A passion for perfection Fitzwilliam Museum , Cambridge , Young Spartans Exercising , c. Waiting , pastel on paper, — Woman Supporting Her Back , c.
Kneeling Woman , , Pushkin Museum , Moscow. Three Dancers in Yellow Skirts , c. After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself , c. Deux danseuses, at the Shelburne Museum. Little Dancer of Fourteen Years Cast posthumously in from a mixed-media sculpture modeled c. Dancer Moving Forward, Arms Raised c. The Spanish Dance c. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Degas disambiguation. Degas and the Business of Art. Retrieved 29 September Jean Sutherland Boggs explains that De Gas was the spelling, "with some pretensions, used by the artist's father when he moved to Paris to establish a French branch of his father's Neapolitan bank.
Degas' aunt and uncle in New Orleans". Retrieved 18 March There were hundreds of lithographs by Daumier. His contemporaries were well represented—with the exception of Monet , by whom he had nothing. Degas and The Little Dancer. A Strange New Beauty". Abrams, New York, , p. Retrieved 13 August Archived from the original on 19 August Retrieved 4 January Essays on 19th Century Art And Society. A passion for perfection". Retrieved 23 November Readings of the Work and Reputation of Edgar Degas.