ATHENS.- The Herakleidon Museum presents the exhibition The Complete Sculptures of Edgar Degas.
This exhibition has many firsts. It is the first time Degas sculptures are exhibited in Greece, the first time all seventy-four sculptures are presented together and the first time visitors will have the opportunity to travel back in time. Let us explain this last remark.
We have all heard of scientists using sophisticated equipment to discover a painting of a famous artist, Da Vinci for example, hidden under one of his later works. It was not uncommon for a painter to recycle a canvas, sometimes painting the same subject, but differently. Alas, one cannot access the earlier work without destroying the later, well-known version. In other words, one may travel back in time, but without the possibility of returning to the present. Nobody is interested in that kind of travel!
But now we have a unique opportunity. All the bronze sculptures in this exhibition were cast from recently discovered plasters made from Degas original waxes during his lifetime and with his consent. This is remarkable since all the other bronzes one currently sees in museums and elsewhere were cast from masters made after the artists death. Therefore, the bronzes in this exhibition can be considered as the original versions, and all the others as the second versions of the sculptures. Thus, for the first time, it will be possible for experts, scholars and the general public to compare the artists bronzes in the before and after states, almost unparalleled in the history of art.
The Museum will publish a special edition catalogue in three languages. The fascinating essays in this catalog by Mr. Walter Maibaum and Dr. Gregory Hedberg detail the history of this discovery and the differences between the bronze editions. Dr. June Hargroves essay discusses the relationship between Edgar Degas two and three-dimensional works so that appropriate comparisons can be made.
The Herakleidon Museum is very proud to have been selected as the organizer of this travelling exhibition of these extraordinary bronzes. The purpose is to make the works of this truly first modern sculptor available to a broader audience.