Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917) never reconciled himself to the label of “Impressionist,” preferring to call himself a “Realist” or “Independent.”
Nevertheless, he was one of the organizers of the first impressionist exhibition in 1874, and remained influential in the group, but his own work was deliberate and controlled, painted in the studio from sketches, notes, and memory.
Like the Impressionists, Degas sought to capture fleeting moments in the flow of modern life, yet he showed little interest in painting plein-air landscapes, favoring scenes in theaters and cafés illuminated by artificial light, which he used to clarify the contours of his figures, adhering to his academic training.
He is especially identified with the subject of dance; more than half of his works depict dancers.
His portraits are notable for their psychological complexity and for their portrayal of human isolation.
Though his work crossed many stylistic boundaries, Degas’ involvement with the other major figures of Impressionism and their exhibitions, his dynamic paintings and sketches of everyday life and activities, and his bold color experiments, served to finally tie him to the Impressionist movement as one of its greatest artists.
Degas summed it us thus: “A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people.”
More of Edgar Degas‘ magnificent art can be found around the Internet.