Monday, September 5, 2016

Edgar Degas at the British Museum

Portrait of Degas
1875
drypoint
British Museum

During the 1870s Degas and several friends made portrait prints of each other. The person in the image above is confidently identified as Degas by curators at the British Museum, but they remain in doubt about which of his relatively obscure colleagues actually made it. Perhaps it was Giuseppe De Nittis, but apparently it might equally well have been Marcellin Desboutin. Doubts about the portrait artist do not extend to the images below  which are solely and unambiguously by and from the hand of Degas himself.

Edgar Degas
Two Dancers
ca. 1877-78
drypoint, aquatint
British Museum

Edgar Degas
The laundresses
1879-80
etching, aquatint
British Museum

Edgar Degas
Backstage behind the safety curtain
1877-78
drypoint, aquatint
British Museum

Edgar Degas
On stage
1876
etching, drypoint
British Museum

Edgar Degas
On stage
1876-77
etching, drypoint
British Museum

Edgar Degas
The little dressing room
1879-80
drypoint
British Museum

Edgar Degas
Sleep
1883-85
monotype
British Museum

Edgar Degas
After the bath
1891-92
lithograph
British Museum

Degas has appeared on this rolling screen more frequently than any other artist. I am not sure why this is so, why he defeats even the competition of established cult-favorites like Poussin and Bacon. Other impressions of the two Degas prints immediately below have in fact appeared here before  But each impression of a Degas print is different, and Degas knows very well how to make the differences significant.

Edgar Degas
Leaving the bath
1879-80
drypoint, aquatint
British Museum

Edgar Degas
At the Louvre, in the Etruscan Gallery (Mary Cassatt at the Louvre)
1879-80
etching
British Museum


Edgar Degas
Lake in the Pyrenees
ca. 1890-93
monotype
British Museum

Edgar Degas
Cape Hornu near St Valery-sur-Somme
ca. 1890-93
monotype
British Museum

Edgar Degas
Heads of a woman and man
ca. 1877-80
monotype
British Museum

Edgar Degas
Young woman with field glasses
ca. 1866-68
drawing
British Museum