Edgar Degas “in a space of twilight”

Degas-painter is well known with his ballet classes, theatrical performances, portraits, horse races. Degas-sculptor is less known, but Degas-engraver and Degas-illustrator, the author of a great number of etchings and monotypies is even less known.

Degas’s graphic works is the area of his creativity which gives a chance to look into “informal” world of the artist, to see his compositions. It is known that he showed his monotypies only for rare visitors, those whom he trusted most of all, – to collectors Ruar and Vollar, writer Ludovic Galevi, artist Camille Pissarro, probably, to Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec. Only twice Degas exhibited monotypies: three sheets at the exhibition of impressionists in 1877 and a series of landscape-monotipies in Durand-Ruel Gallery in 1893. Obviously, subject-matters of works can explain it: except landscapes, theatrical scenes, portraits, Degas often depicted brothels and cafés chantans of Montmartre with their frivolous life. His brother Rene Degas destroyed most of the works of such kind right after the death of the master worrying about the reputation of the artist. The saved part of sheets got to private collections and various museums. And now we have a great opportunity to see works available only for the elite.

Two series of engravings represented at the exhibition are compositions used as illustrations for two magnificent editions: Conversations of Hetaeras by Lucian -Pierre Lui’s translation (Lucien. Les mimes des courtisanes. Edition Ambroise Vollard. Paris, 1935) and Cardinal Family by Ludovic Halevy (Halevy, Ludovic. La famille Cardinal. Edition Auguste Blaizot. Paris, 1938). Editions are issued in 1930s at the initiative of Ambruaz Vollar and August Blaizot, two famous bibliophiles-publishers. The exhibition In a Space of Twilight was held successfully in the Museum of personal collections of A.S. Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. The present owner of works, the Moscow collector, provided the works by the glorified French master to the Yaroslavl Art Museum.

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Published in: on January 15, 2009 at 2:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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