Edgar Degas

Original Prints: Etchings, Drypoints


A founding member of the Impressionist group (first called the Société anonyme coopérative des artistes peintres, sculpteurs et graveurs) in December 1873, Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917) took part however as something of an outsider, both in his manner and his subject matter.  He was closer in spirit to Edouard Manet (whom he had met years earlier, in the Louvre), who encouraged him, while studying the Old Masters,  to represent "modern life"*.

Working mostly in his studio, contrary to the others, he often worked tirelessly in search of new effects (in "factitious life"), under the conditions of the then-novel gaslights, in cafés, theatres, and draped interiors, foreshadowing artists such as Vuillard:

  "Aucun art n'est aussi peu spontané que le mien. Ce que je fais est le résultat de la réflexion et de l'étude des grands maîtres; de l'inspiration, la spontanéité, le tempérament, je ne sais rien...”,
   ["No art is as unspontaneous as mine. What I do is the result of reflection on and study of the grand masters; of inspiration, spontaneity, temperament, I know nothing ... ”,]

His seminal role in the development of modern French art remains paramount.

* There is a well-known article by Ronald Pickvance to this effect:  see https://www.jstor.org/stable/41373081?seq=1. 

Edgar Degas, La Sortie du Bain, original etching and drypoint, ca. 1879-80

La Sortie du Bain

[Leaving the Bath]

Delteil 39, 2nd state (of 17); Reed & Shapiro 42, 2nd state (of 22)

etching (?) with drypoint and burnishing, circa 1879-80, a rare very early working proof, a fine impression, with wide margins, and with a prestigious provenance from the 1918 Atelier sale