Saturday, May 5, 2007


Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (or De Gas) (1834-1917), a keen observer, preferred to be called a Realist, although his style is related to that of Impressionists. His innovative composition, skillful drawing, and perceptive portrayal of movement is uniquely his own.

Degas also depicted social settings such as race courses, cafes, and music halls. He had a profound influence on later artists, Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec, and made sketches from living models to capture their spontaneity, later completing the paintings in the studio.

In his late years Degas was chatting in his studio with one of his few friends and many admirers, English painter Walter Richard Sickert. They decided to visit a café. Young Sickert got ready to summon a fiacre, a horse-drawn cab. Degas objected. "Personally, I don't like cabs. You don't see anyone. That's why I love to ride on the omnibus-you can look at people. We were created to look at one another, weren't we?" Nothing could be better defining Degas that this casual comment.

In 1981, this portrait of Eugène Manet sold for $5.3 million.

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