May 15, 2007


I have still a few tombs at the Montmartre cemetery to show you and to comment on.
Here is the one (a family grave) of Edgar Degas, whose family name actually was De Gas. He was born in 1834 in Paris, where he also died in 1917*, at the age of 81.

Degas belonged to a wealthy and aristocratic family and had hardly any money problems. His father was a banker and an art lover and actually encouraged his son towards an artistic career. His mother was Creole, from New Orleans.

After some short law studies Degas travelled around Europe and studied painting. He spent several years in Italy. He was in the beginning concentrating on portraits (here a later self-portrait), and then made a lot of horse-racing paintings. He became friend with Manet and later (around 1865) also with Monet, Renoir and the other future impressionist painters, to which family he definitely belongs, although he was never a landscape painter.

These painters belonged to the so called “Groupe des Batignolles” of which I talked earlier (April 3). Degas lived at that time just across the street to the Café Guerbois (of which I also have talked), where they all regularly met.

He then started to concentrate more on themes like theatre, dance and music. As he did not have to worry about selling his paintings for living, he could more or less paint what he liked. He was a painter of movements and his ballet paintings are examples on this.

He started to not see so well as from the 70’s and concentrated more on pastels and sculptures – oil painting was too meticulous for him.

He became completely blind in 1911 and did not produce anything the last six years of his life. He never married.
*/ ... or in Saint-Valéry sur Somme. See comments (added late 15/5).


Shionge said...

I've always enjoy history lesson when I was in school and I'm glad that through our blog..I get a lesson or two too :D

Thank you Pete.

Shionge said...

Oops...I mean through your blog :)

Nathalie in Sydney said...

Wonder how he felt in the last six years of his life, being blind. Life is cruel, don't you think?

lasiate said...

j'avais fait une petite série danseuse au début de mon blog! un merveilleux sujet !

Olivier said...

un tres bon post sur Degas, un des plus grands peintres

lyliane said...

Voici un peintre que j'aime, de même que tous ceux qu'il a fréquenté.Heureusement tous les goûts sont dans la nature, car je suis la seule de toutes tes groupies à détester les tags.Je dois être " has been"!!

hpy said...

I have always liked Degas.

Anonymous said...

It`s always very interesting to read about these great persons and evoke them and their works.

krystyna said...

Hi Peter!
Thank you for this post.
I like Degas, my fav is The Class of Dance.
"No art is less spontaneous than mine, what I do is the result of reflection and the study of the great masters." - Edgar Degas

Happiness to you!

alice said...

I do like his "Petite danseuse", have you ever seen somewhere else an art work which mixes like this one bronze and textile?

Peter said...

I guess that there must be a few in more recent years, but I cannot quote a good example.

Peter said...

krystyna - I found some other Degas statements. There are quite a few. I don't have the English translation, but I tried:

"When somebody pays a painting 3.000 francs, it is that he likes it. When he pays it 300.000 francs, it is that it liked by others."

"Taste, it is the death of art."

"Painting, it is very easy when you do not know how to make it. When you know, it is very difficult."

"Nothing in art must appear as accident, even the movement."

"It is necessary to have a high idea, not of what one does, but of what one will be able to make one day; if not it is not worth working."

"Art is not a legitimate love; you don’t marry it, you violate it."

"The drawing is not the form; it is the manner of seeing the form."

Cergie said...

Dis moi, Peter, je n'ai pas les même infos que toi
Je suis allée à St Valéry sur Somme l'an dernier et il me semblait que Degas est mort là bas
Je sais, ce n'est pas ce qui est dit sur le dictionnaire, mais ce serait à vérifier. Je ne l'ai pas sortie cette info de nulle part, ce devait être dit sur place. Ceci dit c'est pas grave pour ma part. c'est enterré dans les fonds de mon blog.
J'ai fait alors un message dont je mets le lien
Très peu de monde l'a vu
Chamamy sous trois pseudos et Jean qui vient une fois tous les six mois me voir !

Toujours très documenté ton blog !

Emily Lin said...

Nice post. Now I know more about Degas. He was tough, wasn't he? The determination of him in painting is really amazed me.

Peter said...

emily lin:
Thanks for visiting my blog again. Yes, I think he was "tough", but obviously well liked by his friends. He was, I think, a real and true artist.

Nathalie à Sydney said...

Animaux de compagnie, GO FOR IT PETER!
Tous les animaux comptent bien sûr, même les crocodiles, alors tu penses si les oiseaux du parc c'est permis!

Et je me suis permis de rigoler devant le commentaire de HPY, le "cauchemar des dactylos" !

Peter said...

Cergie indicates that Degas actually died in St.Valéry-sur-Somme (Picardie). I rechecked. Wikipedia indicates clearly that he died in Paris, but I have also found one or two sources confirming Cergie's statement. I guess Wikipedia is wrong... and that I'm wrong.

Cergie said...

Peter, cette histoire me fait penser à ce marchand qui vendait le crane de Mozart enfant !
Tu sais aussi que les autrichiens disent que Mozart était autrichien et hitler allemand alors que Mozart est né allemand avant que sa ville de naissance soit annexée à l'Autriche
Au fond cela n'a guère d'importance ! Paris dit que c'est à Paris qu'il est mort et St Valéry à St Valéry...

Tu sais, Cergie n'est pas un nom répandu (je suis la seule) alors si on fait Cergie sur google, c'est INCROYABLE comme on suit tout ce que j'ai écrit en message comme en commentaires !
Et puis il faut dire que je suis comme toi (selon HPY) : je suis TTTRRRRRES bavarde !!!

Bonne soirée Peter, merci d'être passé voir et commenter mon message (tu es la troisième personne sur ce message)

bergere said...

Hello Peter
Thanks for the comment on my blog... Et bienvenu dans le club de la redac du mois alors... Plus on est de fou et plus on rit... Si tous ce que j'ai ecrit peut paraitre talentueux, c'est que le sujet qui l'a inspire est exeptionnel... Et puis il y a pas de talents qui tiennent lorsqu'on ecrit avec le coeur... J'ai donc hate de vous lire le mois prochain... En attendant je vais me balader sur vos mots
A bientot

Peter said...

bergere - Merci d'être venue sur mon blog, y compris sur Wallace et les Deux Amis.