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The largest display of Degas’ works to ever come to Australia: Degas, A New Vision
24 June, 2016
An exhibition of one of the world’s most beloved artists, Edgar Degas, opens to the public from tomorrow at NGV International showcasing significant works never-before-seen in Australia.
In its world premiere, Degas: A New Vision presents the largest display of Degas’ works to ever come to Australia, and forms the most comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s oeuvre in decades. Featuring more than 200 works, Degas: A New Vision reveals Degas’ talent in a new light; not only as a great master of painting, but also as a master of drawing, printmaking, sculpture and photography. The works travel to Melbourne from 65 lenders in more than 40 cities across the globe.
Some of Degas’ most famous masterworks are presented including the bronze sculpture The little fourteen-year-old dancer, 1879–81, and In a café (The Absinthe drinker), c. 1875–76. World-renowned paintings, never-before-seen in Australia, are also exhibited such as the celebrated ballet paintings The rehearsal, c. 1874, and Finishing the arabesque, 1877, and Degas’ monumental portrait The Bellelli family, 1867.
Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV, said, ‘Presenting Edgar Degas’ magnificent oeuvre in a fresh and reinvigorated light showcases him as one of the defining artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Considered one of the world’s most celebrated and significant artists, his influence upon modern and contemporary art is undeniable.
Degas: A New Vision is presented thematically, grouping together the subjects which Degas continually returned to throughout his career, including not only his famous ballet scenes but also arresting portraits, the nude, horse-racing, the social world of Parisian nightlife, and women at work and leisure.
The exhibition also explores the great technical, conceptual and expressive freedoms that Degas achieved in his later years, and reveals his experiments with a range of mediums including sculpture and photography. This approach emphasises Degas’ obsessive and highly creative working methods, and allows visitors to enjoy the development of Degas’ art from its beginnings.
Degas was fascinated by aspects of modern life – voraciously painting Paris’ dance halls and cabarets, cafés, racetracks, opera and ballet stages. He also studied the simple, everyday gestures of working women: milliners, dressmakers and laundresses.
He was drawn to explore movement that was precise and disciplined, such as that of racehorses and ballet dancers, and absorbed a diverse range of influences from Japanese prints to Italian Mannerism.
The National Gallery of Victoria is pleased to be working with the world’s pre-eminent expert on Edgar Degas, Henri Loyrette, former Director of the Musée du Louvre (2001–13) and Musée d’Orsay (1994–2001), who is principal curator of the exhibition.
The National Gallery of Victoria and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, are both staging this major retrospective, which has been developed by both institutions in association with Art Exhibitions Australia. Degas: A New Vision travels to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in October 2016.
Degas: A New Vision is on display at NGV International from 24 June – 18 September 2016 as part of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series. Open daily, 10am–5pm.