A Strange New Beauty…

Dancer Adjusting Her Slipper 1887/Pastel on paper
Dancer Adjusting Her Slipper 1887/Pastel on paper

I recently danced my way to the 9:30am opening of the Degas exhibit in New York City at the Museum of Modern Art.

Edgar Degas: A strange New Beauty is a charming, captivating exhibit that is just the right size.

Three Ballet Dancers 1878/Monotype on paper
Three Ballet Dancers 1878/Monotype on paper

This major exhibit focuses on Edgar Degas’s (1834-1917) extraordinary and rarely seen monotypes.

Three studies of Ludovic Halevy standing 1876-77/Charcoal on paper
Three studies of Ludovic Halevy standing 1876-77/Charcoal on paper

This is MoMA’s first monographic exhibition of Edgar Degas, the Impressionist giant who became one of the most enduring and popular figures of 19th century art.

A Group of Dancers 1898/Oil on paper
A Group of Dancers 1898/Oil on paper

The exhibit features 130 monotypes, a technique invented in 17th-century Italy. 50 related works, including paintings, drawings, pastels, sketchbooks and prints are also on display.

Self-portrait 1857/Etching and drypoint on paper
Self-portrait 1857/Etching and drypoint on paper

A monotype is created by laying paper down on a metal or glass plate covered with a design in wet paint or ink, then running them through a press to produce a one-of-a-kind print. Additionally, Degas occasionally added colored pastels once the monotype dried.

Study of a Ballet Dancer 1873/Oil with opaque watercolor on prepared pink paper
Study of a Ballet Dancer 1873/Oil with opaque watercolor on prepared pink paper

Degas is best known as a painter and chronicler of the ballet yet his work as a printmaker reveals the true extent of his restless creativity.

Degas mixed techniques and shared recipes with colleagues for producing unconventional effects.

After The Bath 1896/Oil on canvas
After The Bath 1896/Oil on canvas

Captivated by the medium’s potential, Degas made more than 300 monotypes from the mid-1870s to the mid-1880s, and again during the early 1890s.

Ballet Dancers 1890-1900/Oil on canvas
Ballet Dancers 1890-1900/Oil on canvas

Degas revolutionized the style by the way he moved the printer’s ink with ease across the slick metal plate, resulting in a more liberated form.

Field of Flax 1892/Pastel over monotype in oil on paper
Field of Flax 1892/Pastel over monotype in oil on paper

The exhibition presents a range of subject including scenes of modern life, harshly illuminated café singers, ballet dancers onstage, backstage, or in rehearsal, life in the brothel, intimate bathing moments and landscapes.

Lady With A Parasol 1870-72/Oil on canvas
Lady With A Parasol 1870-72/Oil on canvas

Join me in exploring another side to Edgar Degas:

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Two Studies For Music Hall Singers 1878-80/Pastel and charcoal on gray paper
Two Studies For Music Hall Singers 1878-80/Pastel and charcoal on gray paper
Young Woman in a Cafe 1877/Pastel over monotype on paper
Young Woman in a Cafe 1877/Pastel over monotype on paper
Laundress
Laundress
Dancer 1876-77/Pastel and opaque watercolor over monotype on paper
Dancer 1876-77/Pastel and opaque watercolor over monotype on paper
Three Subjects: The Toilette, Marcellin Desboutin, The Cafe Concert 1976-77/Lithographs transferred from monotype
Three Subjects: The Toilette, Marcellin Desboutin, The Cafe Concert 1976-77/Lithographs transferred from monotype
The Singer 1876/Pastel over monotype on paper
The Singer 1876/Pastel over monotype on paper
Two Dancers 1905/Charcoal and pastel on tracing paper
Two Dancers 1905/Charcoal and pastel on tracing paper

Magnifying glasses are provider to check out the artwork up close and personal.

Woman In A Bathtub 1880-85/Monotype on paper
Woman In A Bathtub 1880-85/Monotype on paper
Singers on the Stage 1877-79/Pastel over monotype on paper mounted on board
Singers on the Stage 1877-79/Pastel over monotype on paper mounted on board
At the Cafe des Ambassadeurs 1879-80/Etching, soft ground, drypoint & aquatint on paper
At the Cafe des Ambassadeurs 1879-80/Etching, soft ground, drypoint & aquatint on paper

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Pirouette your way over to NYC’s Museum of Modern Art and enjoy a breathtaking exhibit.

Frieze of Dancers 1895/Oil on canvas
Frieze of Dancers 1895/Oil on canvas

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