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Retired and enjoying my free time to paint. I love the French Impressionism era. Monet, Renoir, Bazille and Manet are some of my favorites.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Edgar Degas

The Dance Class 1874
Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City

When Degas painted this work and a variant (Musee d'Orsay, Paris), they constituted his most ambitious figural compositions aside from history paintings.  About twenty=four women--ballerinas and their mothers--wait while a dancer executes an attitude for her examination.  Jules Perrot, among the best known dances and ballet masters in Europe, conducts the class.  The scene is set in a rehearsal room in the old Paris Opera--a poster for Rossini's Guillaume Tell is on the wall beside the mirror--even though the building has just burned down.

The work was commissioned in 1872 as part of an arrangement between Degas and the singer and collector Jean-Baptise Faure.  It was one of only a few commissions the artist ever accepted; the painting was delivered in November 1874 after two years of intermittent work.

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