Degas, Edgar Germain Hilaire

PAINTER, GRAPHICAL ARTIST, ETCHER, LITHOGRAPHER, SCULPTOR (FRANCE)
BORN 19 Jul 1834, Paris - DIED 26 Sep 1917, Paris
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Montmartre Cimetière (division 4)

Degas was born in Paris as the son of the banker Augustin De Gas. Instead of becoming a lawyer he turned to painting and during his travels to Italy he came into contact with Gustave Moreau. Back in Paris he copied paintings at the Louvre and there he met Manet in 1864.

Initially Degas painted historical subjects, but from 1865 he chose subjects from his own time. He first exhibited at the Salon in 1865. During the Franco-Prussian war he was involved in the defense of Paris. In 1872 he went to New Orleans, Louisiana where his brother René and other relatives lived. In 1873 he returned to Paris.

When his father died it became clear that René had huge debts and Degas had to sell his house. He was suddenly dependent on the sales of his paintings. His paintings of ballet lessons became famous and allthough he joined the impressionists he never gave up his own independence. The sales of his own work enabled him to collect works of artists he admired, both old masters and contemporaties.

During the 1880s he became interested in photography and he photographed many of his friends himself. During the Dreyfus Affair he distanced himself from his Jewish friends. He regretted this afterwards. Towards the end of his life his eyesight failed and he turned his attention to sculpture. His last years were lonely because he was almost blind and he had outlived most of his friends.

Related persons
• was a friend of Sickert, Walter
• was the lover of Valadon, Suzanne

Sources
Schilderkunst van A tot Z, REBO, Lisse, 1990
Wikipedia (English)

Images

The mausoleum of Edgar Degas at the Cimetière Montmartre, Paris.
Picture by Androom (08 Mar 1995)

 

"The Dance Class".
   (1874, New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art)
 


Degischer, Vilma

Published: 11 May 2008
Last update: 11 May 2008