Degas - The Rehearsal

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, 'The Rehearsal', about 1874
© CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

‘Degas from the Burrell’ at NGA London

Marking the centenary of the artist’s death on 27 September 1917, ‘Drawn in Colour: Degas from the Burrell’ is also a fitting tribute to one of the greatest creative figures of French art. National Gallery London, 20 September 2017 – 7 May 2018.

Source: National Gallery London

Shipping magnate Sir William Burrell (1861–1958) amassed one of the finest collections of Degas pastels in the world; encompassing works from every period of his career and representative of some of his favourite subjects: the ballet, horse racing, and the private world of women at their toilette. They form part of the collection of 9,000 objects including tapestries, stained glass, sculpture, and paintings that Burrell gifted to the city of Glasgow in 1944.

The 13 pastels, three drawings, and four oil paintings, will be exhibited in London alongside a selection of oil paintings and pastels from the National Gallery’s own Degas collection, as well as loans from other collections which relate thematically or stylistically to the Burrell works.

Degas was one of the greatest artistic innovators of his age. He turned from the traditional subjects and technical conventions of his training to find new ways to depict modern, urban life. In Degas’s work, both the highs and lows of Parisian life are depicted: from scenes of elegant spectators and jockeys at the racecourse, to tired young women ironing in subterranean workshops.

Among Degas’s many contributions to the development of art was a relentless technical experimentation with materials, particularly with the supremely flexible medium of pastel that he came to prefer over painting in oil. The range of materials and the cross-fertilization of effects and techniques he used helped him develop a remarkably distinctive and deeply personal vision. Degas’s interest in Japanese prints, photography, and ancient classical friezes probably informed his innovative approach to composition.

Related content

Edgar Degas exhibition at MoMA (exhibition, 2016)

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