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First Ever French Artist Edgar Degas Exhibition Opens in Australia
Edgar Degas, France 1834–1917, The dance class c. 1873, oil on canvas, 47.6 x 62.2 cm. The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, William A Clark Collection, 1926.


CANBERRA.- Australia’s first ever exhibition of works by French artist Edgar Degas (1834–1917) opens at the National Gallery of Australia on 12 December 2008. It will be shown only in Canberra. Degas: master of French art has been developed by the National Gallery of Australia, which has selected the works, negotiated the loans and researched and published the exhibition book. The exhibition includes more than 120 paintings, drawings, sculptures, monotypes, prints, and photographs drawn from 45 collections from all over the world.

Degas was an innovator in depicting images of everyday life in Paris. Many of the works exhibited focus on Degas’ favourite subject matter—the ballet, behind-the-scenes views at the opera, the racetrack, the café-concerts, laundresses and women bathing, as well as brothels.

Degas: master of French art has brought together some of the finest examples of Degas’ talent and evolution as an artist. It is the culmination of almost three years work by one of the National Gallery of Australia’s senior curators of international art, Jane Kinsman. It seeks to examine how the artist successfully absorbed the rich lessons of the old masters and applied these in his modern-day subjects, leading him to his own singular style.






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December 12, 2008

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