Art is divine

When Degas rhymes with Opera

Micha Christos

MUSEE D’ORSAY

Paris

 

From September 24, 2019 to January 19, 2020

 

DEGAS AT THE OPERA

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

La Classe de danse,1873-76

Huile sur toile

Washington, DC, 

The National Gallery of Art

Photo © Washington, DC, 

The National Gallery of Art –

 NGA IMAGES

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

Musicians in the orchestra, 1872-76

Oil on canvas, 69 x 49 cm

Frankfurt am Main, Städel Museum

© Photo: Städel Museum - ARTOTHEK

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

The Choristers, 1877

Pastel on monotype, 27 x 32 cm

Paris, musée d’Orsay, RF 12259

Photo © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt

 

 

 

 

 

 Degas called the Paris Opera a «bedroom of his own,» and he made it the privileged place of his ultimate works. He explored with his brush not only the room and the stage but also the boxes, the foyer and, of course, the places of rehearsal. Dancers, musicians, orchestra and spectators haunt forever the scenes of his paintings.

 

This artistic microcosm bathed in lights and music gave him a real universe in isolation to experience all his studies of movement in the veracity of his gestures. A marvelous «toolbox», Degas spent his life in this legendary workshop of opera and ballet, leaving only short moments for other venues such as horse races or café-concerts.

 

This exhibition is the first to consider the Paris Opera in the nineteenth century in its entirety through the passionate link that unites Degas to this house and his musical tastes.

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

Ballet, also told The Star, 1876

Pastel on monotype, 58.4 x 42 cm

Paris, musée d’Orsay, RF 12258

Photo © RMN-Grand Palais (Orsay Museum) / Hervé Lewandowski


Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

The curtain, circa 1881

Pastel

Washington, DC, The National Gallery of Art

Photo © Washington, DC, The National Gallery of Art - NGA IMAGES

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

The Opera Orchestra, circa 1870

Oil on canvas, 56.5 × 45 cm

Paris, Musée d’Orsay, RF 2417

Photo © RMN-Grand Palais (Orsay Museum) / Hervé Lewandowski

 

 

 

 

 From Edgar Degas are known mainly the canvases, pastels and sculptures of little rats to star dancers, but the Impressionist painter also captured the very essence of this life in his intimate and exhibitionist beauty.

 

His gaze immortalized the spectacle of the stage as that of the backstage.

 

Choristers, singers, musicians have delighted his colors as the elegant spectators in black clothes and evening dresses who came to applaud.

 

Degas painted the Paris Opera from every angle and today the Musée d’Orsay tells this idyllic passion.

 

A major exhibition 

whose curtain rises in September.


Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

The Dance Class, 1873

Oil on canvas, 85.5 x 75 cm

Paris, Orsay Museum, RF 1976

Photo © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt