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Edgar Degas

Impressionist Painter Edgar Degas

Full Name: Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas
Profession: Impressionist Painter


Biography: Edgar Degas was a leading Impressionist painter, although he himself disliked the term and preferred to call his work realism. Degas was even known to criticize his fellow impressionists for their habit of working outside, while he confined himself to a more traditional artist's studio.

Edgar trained as a history painter and traveled to Rome to study the works of Renaissance masters, such as Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian. The older French painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was also an important influence.

Degas first exhibited at the Salon in 1865 and in 1874 he was part of the First Impressionist Exhibition held in Paris alongside Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul C├ęzanne and Paul Monet. Labelled "the impressionists" by critics, the first exhibition was largely a failure but the group were able to show their work for the first time outside the restrictions of the staid Paris Salon.

However over time Degas's reputation grew until he was living quite successfully off his paintings. His work began to focus more fully on subjects of real life, and he made a special study of ballet dancers, portraying them as professionals at work. In later life Degas's work was more experimental with color and influenced by the advances of photography.

Born: July 19, 1834
Birthplace: Paris, France
Star Sign: Cancer

Died: September 27, 1917 (aged 83)

Historical Events

  • 1874-04-15 First 'Impressionist' exhibition opens in Paris, features Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Berthe Morisot
  • 1881-04-02 Sixth Impressionist Exhibition opens in Paris organized by Edgar Degas and showing his famous "Little Dancer of Fourteen Years", the only sculpture shown in his lifetime
  • 1988-05-10 Edgar Degas' "Danseresje of 14" sold for $10,120,000

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