Degas: A Strange Beauty Indeed

ballerina close up s

My dentist’s office is just a few blocks from the Museum of Modern Art, so after my appointment yesterday I spent some time there before I went home.  I wanted to see the Dada exhibit, and it was fun, but the Degas exhibit overshadowed and overwhelmed it.

monotype comp 1

The exhibit explored Degas’ process, starting with his extensive use of monotype printing.  He was able to get quite a lot of detail using copper plates.

monoprint celluloid s

He also did some prints using celluloid, the photography film of the day.

dancer comp

But then he started adding color to his monoprints with both pastel and watercolor.  Wow!  It’s impossible to fully control this type of printing, so maybe that’s the secret to the other-worldliness of so many of his pastel works.

drawing comp

The exhibit then went on to talking about how all this work influenced his drawing and painting.  This is a good lesson for all of us perfectionists.

sketchbook s

A page from a sketchbook shows Degas exploring.

dancers comp 2

And here’s a look at how a sketch became a painting.

monotype landscape color oil s

My favorite part of this show was the room of landscapes though.  Here Degas used oil paints when printing, in colors this time.

landscape w pastel comp

He used pastels over the printing on some of these as well.

accident comp

The labeling for this exhibit was also excellent.  It’s only there a few more weeks, but if you happen to be in NYC…be prepared for the crowds, but highly recommended.

degas quote

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33 responses to “Degas: A Strange Beauty Indeed”

  1. 10000hoursleft says :

    Ha! There’s currently a Degas exhibition on in Melbourne too! I had no idea he did landscapes- the ones you’ve shown are beautiful- I might have to go and see!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. janetweightreed10 says :

    About 25 years ago I went to the Met in New York, specifically to see a Georgia O’Keefe exhibit… and although I love her eye and work, the exhibit disappointed me. There was a huge Degas exhibit on at the same time….about 12 galleries…travelling through his life’s work. Up until that moment, I had thought of Degas as a ‘chocolate box painter’ by my oh my was my opinion changed.! Since that time, I have held his work in the highest regard…..In the last gallery, where he was an old man, virtually blind, I was able to witness a painter who through a lifetime of work and experiment ‘married technical prowess with the intangible’ He didn’t need sight….his instinct and deep understanding of his subject and materials – took over….it was such a joy and one I have talked about many times…
    Thank you so much for reminding me of this….Janet:)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jodi says :

    Wow – thank you for sharing this with us Kerfe! amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Michael Richards (certainline) says :

    What a shame to miss this – it looks fascinating. Many thanks for sharing, Kerfe. I wish my dentist was round the corner from the MoMA – it would be a real incentive to go.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Janetteartandwords says :

    Oh, how wonderful! Thank you for all of these great photos…Degas is one of my favourite artists! Hope to go and see his exhibition in Melbourne, over here in Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lynz Real Cooking says :

    Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  7. REcreate-RebeccaEvansCreate says :

    This is so interesting, I want to know more, sadly too far away for me in England, thank you so much for sharing, I am pleased you had to visit the dentist, but only for this post, fabulous 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Laura (Createarteveryday) says :

    Thanks for bringing us along, Kerfe. I find the sketchbook image the most compelling, strangely. How nice to be able to visit this exhibit along with the dentist. Definitely makes it more palatable lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Susan Feniak says :

    Thank you for sharing Kerfe!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. artandmoondreams says :

    Wonderful virtual tour, thank you for sharing your visit to the museum.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. davekingsbury says :

    Not seen the landscapes before … rather good!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. merrildsmith says :

    It looks like a wonderful show. I like when we get to see the creative process of an artist. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. sheldonk2014 says :

    I never make it home if I live in New York

    Liked by 1 person

  14. sheldonk2014 says :

    I’m like a kid in a candy store
    When I’m there

    Liked by 1 person

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