Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Degas' Late Work and His Studio

Edgar Degas is a master artist whose star rises with time.  If you want to peek into his studio, and perhaps a little of his thinking, I recommend this video series.

Master Copies, Casey Klahn


Astrid Volquardsen said...

Hi Casey, thanks for posting! This is so interesting. I can watch this over and over again.

Astrid Volquardsen said...

One aspect he doesn't mention is that Degas did have a progressive eye desease, which may be one of the reasons for his simplifications of his compositions.
Degas also mentioned in a letter that he can't stand bright sunlight. Might be a reason why he darkened his studio with curtains.

Casey Klahn said...

I am thrilled by this series, too.

Ever the skeptic, I question the idea that he simplified, or used pastels, because he couldn't see well. I know that isn't what you are saying, but those are the things I have heard.

I think he simplified because he was a good artist, and I see maturity, not incapacity.

I read one author who thinks a lot of his eye complaints were exaggerated as part of his grumpy persona - a mask to avoid the crowd. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Astrid Volquardsen said...

His eye desease certainly gave him another possibility to look at the world from a different point of view. I agree with you, that the truth must be somewhere in between.

I found a very interesting paragraph in the book "The Artist Eys" by Michael Framer and James Ravin:

"Over this 25 year perieod, the lines of color became coarser and more widely seperated, the shading became diminished, and the details of face and limb are progressively lost. One critic who visited Degas at his studio in 1907 described his work on a pastel: "The execution was a bit summery like everything currently being done by this man, whose eyes are becoming worse each day. But what vigorous and mangnificent drawing.!"

Casey Klahn said...

Good quote. Very revealing.

Lately I have started to look at the faces and expressions of people on videos who telling stories or being interviewed. The artist in the last video, the British bespectacled fellow, is very moved when he describes Degas' final works as not the results of pain or complaint, but as triumphs. Did he do his best work last?

Unknown said...

What a treat, thanks for posting, I never tire of listening and looking into Degas art

Casey Klahn said...

I watched it again last week on my big screen, and the colors were much more "popped" than in Kendall's book.

It is a treat to have you comment, Maria.