When French artist Edgar Degas visited New Orleans during the winter and spring of 1872-73, he found himself positioned in between French and American cultures; between the sequestered spaces of Creole domesticity on Esplanade Avenue on the one hand, and the privatized public space of his uncle’s cotton business on Carondelet Street in the American sector on the other; and, more than in his previous experience, between white and black races.
Degas’s New Orleans pictures of in-between spaces like the veranda of his uncle’s Esplanade house, where he portrayed his cousin Mathilde Musson Bell, and the back steps, where he painted a scene of a black nanny and white children, thwart easy assumptions about gender and race. His well-known painting of the Cotton Office likewise alludes to uncertainties about family, race, labor, and commerce in an unsettled transatlantic world.
Marilyn R. Brown taught for 27 years at Tulane University in New Orleans before joining the Department of Art & Art History at CU-Boulder. Author of Degas and the Business of Art: A Cotton Office in New Orleans, Brown received the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth Century Studies Prize and the Nineteenth Century Studies Association Prize for "'Miss La La's' Teeth: Reflections on Degas and 'Race.'” Her essay “Degas’s New Orleanian Spaces,” will appear in Sweet Spots: In-Between Spaces in New Orleans. Prof. Brown received her Ph.D. in the history of art from Yale University.
Doors open at 5:30 pm.
Admission is free; first-come seating.
Sponsored by FOPAS, a DAM support group of the Department of Painting & Sculpture.