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  • Edgar Degas
    Jul 19, 1834 - Sep 27, 1917
  • The Red And Blue Dancers - Edgar Degas was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist. A superb draughtsman, he is especially identified with the subject of the dance, and over half his works depict dancers.
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The Red And Blue Dancers
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  • The Red And Blue Dancers

  • Edgar Degas
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  • 1889

    THIS LATE PASTEL OF THE BALLET shows Degas returning to a theme which occupied him often during his later years- a close-up of a group of dancers, waiting in the wings, touching their costumes, a moment of relaxation between active moments of the dance. As a matter of fact, the older Degas grew, the less likely was he to attempt the more violent action of the ballet on the stage. He went seldom to the theatre and his dancing pictures became more set as he studied individual models in his studio. Perhaps it was this quality that lay behind the testy exclamation of Zola, "I cannot accept a man who shuts himself up all his life to draw a ballet girl as ranking co-equal in dignity and power with Flaubert, Daudet, and Goncourt."

    As a matter of fact Degas had long left off any attempt at realism in the sense Zola admired and practiced it. In such a pastel as this he expressed, rather than described, the curious and unexpected effects of color and light backstage, strongly, vividly studying the way various hues played on one another, exaggerating reflections, drawing his figures broadly, striping and overlaying his pastel to gain new effects of texture. The result is a strengthening of the Impressionist broken color and at the same time a new fantasy and unreality in the treatment of the theatre and its dancers.

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Other paintings by Edgar Degas:

The Racecourse
The Racecourse
The Racecourse, Amateur Jockeys
The Racecourse, Amateur Jockeys
The Rehearsal 1877
The Rehearsal 1877
The Rehearsal of the Ballet on Stage
The Rehearsal of the Ballet on Stage
Edgar DegasEdgar Degas As the son of a wealthy Parisian banking family, Edgar Hilaire Germain Degas originally planned to study law before opting to enter the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1855. His studies there strongly emphasized traditional drawing skills. Degas excelled and his extraordinary draftsmanship became a hallmark of his work. In 1856, Degas traveled extensively throughout Italy where he studied renaissance and classical masterpieces.

As a founding member of the Impressionists, Degas helped to organize the ground-breaking exhibition of 1874, exhibiting 10 of his own pieces in this inaugural show. While historically labeled an Impressionist, Degas preferred the term "Naturalist". He seldom painted en plein- air. Instead preferring to work from sketches and models. The artist once said: "My art has nothing spontaneous about it, it is all reflection." His studies frequently convey an element of psychological tension, offering the viewer intimate vignettes of life in late 19th century Paris. Fascinated with the movement of forms through space, Degas often sketched dancers from the wings of theaters, working in pastel and charcoal to capture his subjects with an unrivaled immediacy. Women dancing or merely engaged in the activities of daily life consistently his favored subject. Scholarship is currently divided as to whether Degas was a misogynist or an early feminist but the raging controversy has yet to dampen enthusiasm for the artist's work.

Degas liked photography so he painted similar to how a camera would capture a picture.