Degas

A Passion for Perfection
Opens February 11, 2018
Edgar Degas, Dance Examination (Examen de Danse), 1880

Edgar Degas, Dance Examination (Examen de Danse), 1880. Pastel on paper; 24-1/2 x 18 in. Denver Art Museum; anonymous gift. 1941.6

Edgar Degas, Woman Scratching Her Back, 1881. Pastel on paper; 15 7/8 x 16 ¼ in. Denver Art Museum: The Edward & Tullah Hanley Memorial Gift for the People of Denver and the area, 1973.161.

Edgar Degas, Dancers, about 1900. Pastel and charcoal on tracing paper, mounted on wove paper, mounted on board; 37 5/8 x 26 ¾ in. Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester: Gift of Mrs. Charles H. Babcock.

Edgar Degas, Dancer with Bouquets, about 1895—1900. Oil paint on canvas; 71 x 60 in. Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA: Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., in memory of Della Viola Forker Chrysler.

Edgar Degas, War Scene in the Middle Ages (Scène de guerre au Moyen Age), about 1865. Oil and petrol on paper glued on canvas; 32-7/8 x 58-7/16 in. Musée d’Orsay, Paris: Erich Lessing / Art Resource, NY.

Edgar Degas, Self Portrait, 1857. Etching and drypoint on paper, from a cancelled plate. 9 x 5 5/8 in. (plate), 12 7/8 x 9 27/32 in. (sheet). © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Edgar Degas, Self Portrait, 1857. Etching and drypoint on paper, from a cancelled plate. 9 x 5-5/8 in. (plate), 12-7/8 x 9-27/32 in. (sheet). © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Edgar Degas, David and Goliath, 1859. Oil paint on canvas. 25 1/4 x 31 1/2 in. © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Edgar Degas, David and Goliath, 1859. Oil paint on canvas. 25-1/4 x 31-1/2 in. © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Edgar Degas, Dancer, Fourth Position in Front on the Left Leg, Wax original c. 1885/1890, cast c. 1919—1921. Copper alloy, 9-7/8 x 14-9/16 x 14-3/16 in. © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Edgar Degas, Dancer, Fourth Position in Front on the Left Leg, Wax original c. 1885/1890, cast c. 1919—1921. Copper alloy, 9-7/8 x 14-9/16 x 14-3/16 in. © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Edgar Degas, Four Ballet Dancers on Stage, 1885-90

Edgar Degas, Four Ballet Dancers on Stage, 1885-90. Oil paint on canvas; 28-3/4 x 36-1/4 in. Collection of Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Assis Chateaubriand, Brazil. Photo by João Musa.

Edgar Degas, The Conversation, 1885–95. Oil paint on canvas. Framed: 28-3/8 x 33 in.; unframed: 19-3/4 x 24 in. Yale University Art Gallery, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, B.A. 1929, L.H.D.H 1967.

Edgar Degas, The Conversation, 1885–95. Oil paint on canvas. Framed: 28-3/8 x 33 in.; unframed: 19-3/4 x 24 in. Yale University Art Gallery, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, B.A. 1929, L.H.D.H 1967.

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February 11, 2018 – May 20, 2018
Hamilton Building - Level 2
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Degas: A Passion for Perfection will showcase prolific French artist Edgar Degas’ works from 1855 to 1906. More than 100 works consisting of paintings, drawings, pastels, etchings, monotypes, and sculptures in bronze will be on view. The exhibition will focus on the most prominent and recurring themes throughout Degas’ 60-year career. These include his interest in learning from the art of the past and from that of his contemporaries, a lifelong fascination with the nude, a passion for horses, and his strong interest in opera and dance.

Well-known masterpieces will be on view, and the exhibition also will dive deeper into Degas’ obsession with repetition of subjects throughout his entire artistic journey. Visitors will see his transformation from a portraitist and painter of historical subjects to one interested in the contemporary life of late-nineteenth-century Paris. By experimenting constantly throughout his career he developed techniques that allowed him to capture modern subject matter through sharp and precise lighting, such as café concerts, street scenes with new electric lighting, sporting events, and theatrical settings. He considered his work in all media a constant continuum. Works by J.A.D. Ingres, Eugène Delacroix, and Paul Cézanne also will be shown, adding depth to the exhibition’s narrative.

Degas: A Passion for Perfection will include an audio guide. An accompanying book will be available in The Shops and online.

The DAM is the sole American venue for the exhibition. Degas: A Passion for Perfection is presented and organized in association with the Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge, England, whose Degas holdings represent the most extensive in the United Kingdom across the various media in which Degas worked. The exhibition is organized by Jane Munro, Keeper of Paintings, Drawings and Prints at the Fitzwilliam Museum, and curated locally by Timothy J. Standring, Gates Family Foundation Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the DAM.

Degas: A Passion for Perfection is organized by the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, in association with Denver Art Museum. It is presented with generous support from Diane Stanbro, Robert and Carolyn Barnett, the donors to the Annual Fund Leadership Campaign, and the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Promotional support is provided by 5280 Magazine, CBS4, Comcast Spotlight, and The Denver Post.