Edgar Degas. Impressionism : Blunt Truth

Tatranská galéria Poprad

Poprad, Slovakia : 22/06/2016 to 04/09/2016

PRESS RELEASE

Following the success of this exhibition in Latvia and Lithuania, first time in Slovakia, original works by Edgar Degas, are now in Tatranská galéria Poprad and is realized in partnership with Collection Kesauri. Exhibition is open from 22/06/2016 to 4/09/2016 and is featuring 34 original works of greatest master of our time.

Edgar Degas (Hilaire Germain Edgar DE GAS) (1834-1917) is one of the 19th century’s greatest painters, draftsmen and printmakers and an innovative sculptor and photographer. Degas created readily-saleable small-scale works in pastel, gouache and distemper, media that allowed him to work more rapidly. His subject matter included dancers, theater scenes, café-concerts, brothel scenes and nudes, along with portraits of friends.

Degas first used the monotype medium in 1874/5 having been introduced to it by Vicomte Ludovic Napoléon Lepic, an engraver and member of the Société des Aquafortistes. His initial pencil studies for the Cardinal series were done two years later, but it was not until the 1880s that he began systematic work on the monotype illustrations.

By the 1880s Degas’s style was tending towards an increasing assimilation of impressionist techniques. However, the blurred contour and the painterly application of ink are effects inherent to the monotype medium, as much as they may be characteristics of impressionist painting. Nevertheless, the use of this medium does locate a change of emphasis for Degas especially since it parallels his growing tendency for pastel. With the use of pastel Degas grew increasingly to understand colour; with monotypes, which he himself described as ‘dessins faits avec l’encre grasse et imprimés’, he learned to compose in tonal areas – shapes rather than lines.

Although his eyesight and general health deteriorated during the 20th century, he continued to work until 1912.

It would be surprising to see how realistic art, or even naturalistic, to which Degas while recourse, has departed from the tradition of sugary elegance of the Second Empire, by which were made miniatures of Edmond Morin for the first edition of Monsieur et Madame Cardinal, and by which followed the genre of Grevin presented in illustrations of Henry Maigrot for publication Petites Cardinal; by comparing the illustrations of these two books with those that did Degas, it will be understood as a great artist ahead of his time!

His art and influenced a generation of artists.

Degas created the series of monotypes made 1877–78 to illustrate Degas' close friend, writer and librettist of Ludovic Halévy’s book, La Famille Cardinal, a satire of social-climbing ballet dancers, controlling stage mothers and the backstage sex-trade. Since Halévy narrated the book in the first person, Degas included him in nine of the illustrations. Theodore Reff suggests that Halévy did not publish his friends monotypes because, "On the whole, Degas' illustrations are more a recreation of the spirit and ambience than authentic illustrations". The suite La Famille Cardinal offer a look at French society and Paris street and night life through the work of an Impressionist master.

When the portfolio of monotypes and drawings related to the project appeared as one lot in the 1918 sale of prints from the artist’s estate, it was said to consist of 37 monotypes, according to the catalogue, including eight retouched with pastel, thirty countertypes (actually, second impressions), and eleven drawings. However, the portfolio was withdrawn from sale and most of its contents were deposited in 1925 with Durand-Ruel. On March 17th 1928, the portfolio was sold, again as one lot, for extraordinary sum of 408 500 Fr, at the sale organized by Marcel Guerin at which the principal buyers were Guerin himself, the publisher Auguste Blaizot, who also acquired the reproduction rights, and the collector David-Weill. Seven monotypes and drawings accidentally are removed from the portfolio before it had been left with Durand-Ruel were sold at auction separately on 25 June 1935.

In 1938, the monotypes were finally published by Blaizot as etching illustrations. These etchings, hand-pulled by Maurice Potin, have been documented by leading Degas scholars Adhemar and Cachin, E. P. Janis and Jean Boggs. The edition is limited to only 350 copies.

Degas devoted several monotypes to one episode, working his way trough varying compositions and refining visual effects. Viewed together, the sequences of illustrations showing the same scene from different angles, from a distance, and close up achieve a curious cinematic quality that would have been lost in a book.

Etchings from suite La Famille Cardinal are particularly important because many of the original monotypes from Edgar Degas have vanished. These etchings from this suite remain the only documentation of their existence!

Great artist ahead of his time

It would be surprising to see how realistic art, or even naturalistic, to which Degas while recourse, has departed from the tradition of sugary elegance of the Second Empire, by which were made miniatures of Edmond Morin for the first edition of Monsieur et Madame Cardinal, and by which followed the genre of Grevin presented in illustrations of Henry Maigrot for publication Petites Cardinal; by comparing the illustrations of these two books with those that did Degas, it will be understood as a great artist ahead of his time!

Two prints to demonstrate the difference between the works by Degas and of work of his contemporary painters:

1 - 12 illustrations of Edmond Morin
2 - 12 illustrations of Henry Maigrot

It is recommended by: Radio and Television of Slovakia

Tatranská galéria Poprad
Poprad, Slovakia

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