Edgar Degas Paintings
Edgar Degas (19 July 1834 – 27 September 1917) was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, and drawing. His early study of classical art prefaced a body of mature works which convincingly placed the human figure in contemporary environments. He is regarded as one of the founders of impressionism. After returning from Italy, Degas copied paintings at the Louvre. In 1865 some of his works were accepted in the Salon. During the next five years, Degas had additional works accepted in the Salon, and gradually gained respect in the world of conventional art (Benedek "Chronology."). In 1870, Degas's life was changed by the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. During the war, Degas served in the National Guard to defend Paris (Mannering 6), allowing little time for painting. Following the war, Degas visited his brother, Rene, in New Orleans and produced a number of works, many of family members, before returning to Paris in 1873 (Mannering 6). Soon after his return, in 1874, Degas helped to organize the first Impressionist Exhibition (Benedek "Chronology."). The Impressionists subsequently held seven additional shows, the last in 1886, and Degas showed his work in all but one (Mannering 6-7). Also showing works in these exhibitions was Degas's "friend and rival" (Mannering 5), Édouard Manet, whose interest in the contemporary life of Paris influenced and paralleled Degas' own (Mannering 5). At around the same time, Degas also became an amateur photographer, both for pleasure, and in order to accurately capture action for painting (Hartt 365). Eventually Degas relinquished some of his financial security. This occurred after the death of his father, when various debts forced him to sell his collection of art, live more modestly, and depend on his artwork for income (Canaday 936-937). As the years passed, Degas became isolated, due, in part, to his belief "that a painter could have no personal life.(Canaday 929). He never married and spent the last years of his life "aimlessly wandering the streets of Paris" (Mannering 7) before dying in 1917.