D is for Degas

D is for Degas

Today is day four of the Blogging A to Z Challenge


 The Dance Class, 1874

Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)


attitude filled air

on the trail of perfection

all jitters stifled

figures held in light in time

smell of oil paint permeates



I thought I would take this opportunity to learn a little more about art/artists/painters/paintings and master works than I do during this A to Z Challenge.


Edgar Degas was born , Hilaire-Germain-Edgar de Gas on July 19, 1834, in Paris, France. He showed talent as a child, so at 18 years old he was copying works of the masters on display in the Louvre. That’s what budding artists did then to hone their craft. His father was a French banker and a knowledgeable art lover. His mother was American from New Orleans, who knew! They were from the middle class but decided to change their stars. They had nobler “pretensions”, I love the way they put that. So, they jazzed up the surname made it de Gas (the ‘de’ meaning land owning aristocrat), which they weren’t. Edgar later changed it back to Degas. 

He was one of the founders of the Impressionists’ movement. He arranged exhibitions and participated in them. Yet he was resistant to such labeling, just like Cezanne. He considered himself a realist- representing subjects truthfully, no enhancing of the image. His favorite image to paint were dancers, he produced 1500 such paintings. In his thirties his eyesight started to fail, so he turned to sculpting. Wow! Way to make lemonade when life hands you lemons, right. I did not know that Degas was a sculpture. His work influenced several major modern artists.




Follow this link for a peek at his work as a sculpture

11 responses to “D is for Degas

  1. I attended an small exhibition of his art. I felt compelled to reach out and touch a bronze? sculpture of a dancer. I knew I should not touch, it was against the rules. I did touch…I am glad to say, and felt an electrical buzz through my finger tips. I like to think that was his creative impulse captured in time and form


  2. Some amazing art by him on display at the Musee d’Orsay. I know very little about art, just enjoy it w/o any depth of knowledge 🙂 Like all the impressionists, particularly Monet, and Renoir. Thanks for a great post.

    Best wishes,


  3. In January we visited an impressionist exhibit at a Ft Worth Museum. I leaned in so close to view the brush strokes of a Degas that the museum guard nearly had a stroke. He insisted on following me about for a while. I swear I was just looking. Best wishes on your A-Z journey.


  4. I have to say as an art student the Impressionists were my favorite. I have a renewed love for Degas as I am “trying” to study the ballerina. Oh he really is a master. Glad you chose him and I hope your month of doing this gives you a greater understanding for the artist.


    • Thank you, and I am gaining a better understanding of it all. That ballerina painting is amazing. Something I was reading about this one referred to a poster for some event that was going on at the time (it’s on the left). I thought it was a window! But on closer exam.. it us a poster. That was just so cool! Thanks for stopping by.


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