Degas at the Opera.Orsay.September 2019-January 2020
it’s been a long timeyou didn’t receive any news from the little art seeker and the last exhibitions in Paris.Sorry but I have been too busy these last months but now I am back and hope to give you the envy to discover this gorgeous exhibition in Orsay Museum around the great master Degas!
Between the 1860s and 1900 ,Degas made the Opera ,the central point of his work.He was everywhere the creation around this fascinating art was on:the orchestra,the stage,the boxes,foyer,corridors,dance studios.
His passion for this place led him to incredible representations,with unusual framings,to render in the most faithful way the gesture and the study of the movement and to assemble the bodies in fine bunches like dazzling bunches of flowers.
If his Opera seems something really real ,the représentations he made of the stage ,the dancers and the scene look like dreamlike visions.
Degas’s introduction in the Opera came through the portrait.The little art Seeker loved the représentations he did of the Opera dancer Eugénie Fiocre,being probably a secret admirer of the Young woman.
Degas was also fascinated by music and came from a family where it plays an important role.His father who was a banker had a family salon where he loved to listen to early music as Bach and Rameau but also Gluck .In memories of these Mondays he made a portrait of his father listening to the Spanish tenor Lorenzo Pagans.
“The lack of Opera is a real privation.”Edgar Degas.1872
Degas didn’t like the brand new Opera built by Garnier and preferred the old one; The Pelletier Opéra that was destroyed by a fire in 1873.Degas disliked the profusion of decorative works,the luxurious foyers and functional backstage area.The place was for him synonymous of the second Empire, a regime he disliked which favored artists he despised.He was faithful to the place as a subscriber but disliked what it symbolised.
“You want to decorate me,so you want to do me a favour,well then, give me the freedom of the Opera, for life!”Edgar Degas.
In the 1870’s Degas made the theatre Pelletier his own and going backstage from the auditorium painted his first dance classes.After being broken at the barre under the eye of the ballet master Jules Perrot,the dancers would take turns and performed their exercices in front of Degas’s eyes.The painter will offer us a wide range of dance examinations that will secure him a clientele and will make him the painter of dancers.
Degas was passionate by the matter of lighting effects in théâtres,onstage and on the figures that he depicted .But what he liked the most was to render the effect of light on bodies,and its place in the dark space of the Opera.The bodies were sketched from different angles,from above,from below boxes,stages and balconies .He made also straight plans upon the actors and audience,members in a particular light .The passage from gaslight to electric light didn’t interest him .he was more interested in the rendering of the bustle of the rehearsal rooms and the light falling upon the dancers’s backs
In 1889,Degas invited Julie Manet into his studio to see “some orgies of colour that I am doing just now”.He then focused on his two preferred media,charcoal and pastel .With pastel,he could draw directly in colour and used also pastel keeping representing dancers backstage turning them into multiple figures like so many facets of the same woman.This gorgeous exhibition ends with these huge paintings were Degas let the colours explode.If you spend a few days in Paris run and see this beautiful exhibition.The little art seeker warmly recommends it!
So if you come to Paris in the months to come,make a stop at the musée d’Orsay and visit this gorgeous exhibition dedicated to the painter of the little dancers Edgar Degas.You won’t regret it!