I have spent a lot of time looking at the works of Edward Degas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art here in NYC at one time had 2 whole rooms of his work. The rooms have unfortunately since changed. I remember the first time I walked into those rooms. I was enthralled by, and in awe of, the energy and passion with which Degas so eloquently captured the figure. I was just 16 and I made a decision at that point that I wanted nothing else in life if not to spend it with such energy, passion and enthusiasm for drawing & painting the figure.
I recently had the incredible pleasure of viewing the ‘Degas & the Nude’ exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts’. Now on display at the Musee d’Orsay in France. It was simply one of the best, and my very favorite exhibits I have seen in my lifetime. Of course being a figurative artist and Degas being one of my most liked artists, makes me a little, ok a lot biased!
It was the single greatest collection of his work I had ever seen in one place. Everything from his preparatory drawings, to his prints and finished pastels.
I am intrigued at how as I grow older viewing a particular artists work in person time and time again different things stand out to me at different times in my life even when viewing the same works. While I noticed many things on this particular visit mostly I noted and studied Degas use of different papers, materials and methods. Degas at times combined printmaking and pastel with beautiful elegance. He worked on many different types of paper and with many mediums. He often layered his materials to achieve complex, beautiful effects. His proficiency over materials is absolutely stunning. Degas mastered the flow of passion and energy to paper. He communicates his feelings with the precision of a linguist who effortlessly commands words. Something I tirelessly strive for.