Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Edgar Degas

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.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Mary Cassett

Recognized as one of the foremost 19th-century American painters and printmakers, Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) is known for her prolific career and Impressionist artwork.A native of Pennsylvania who lived as an expatriate in Paris beginning in 1874, Mary Cassatt started formal training as a painter in 1861.

In 1865, she took her first trip to Europe, where she would remain for the next four years, traveling and studying in Paris, Rome, and Madrid.

Edgar Degas saw Cassatt’s work at the Salon, and in 1877 he asked her to exhibit with the Impressionists.

Cassatt’s painting style and subject matter changed greatly because of her association with Impressionism. She abandoned colorful costume genre depictions in favor of scenes from contemporary life.

Throughout the latter half of the 1880s, Cassatt produced etchings and drypoints of members of her family.

Her failing eyesight prevented her from working for the last 15 years of her life, but because she had been an exceptionally prolific printmaker, she produced more than 220 prints during the course of her career.More of Mary Cassett‘s marvelous artwork can be found at https://www.marycassatt.org/.