The plentiful works of French artist Edgar Degas will join other famous collections at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) in a new exhibit, Degas: A Passion for Perfection.
Over 100 of Degas’ works in various mediums — from paintings to bronze statues — make up the exhibit, which was created and organized by the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England. The DAM will be the only venue in America to host the exhibit, starting in February 2018 after it debuts in the Fitzwilliam Museum.
“Degas was the quintessential independent artist, and this exhibition will give visitors a more intimate look into his creative process as well as his public and private life,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “Several moments within the exhibition will encourage close, mindful looking, providing the opportunity for visitors to savor the range of media, subject matter and techniques that defined Degas as an innovator.”
The exhibit was curated by the DAM’s Gates Family Foundation Curator of Painting and Sculpture, Timothy J. Standring. Degas: A Passion for Perfection focuses on major recurring themes in Degas’ works, including his passions for horses, opera and dance, his fascination with the nude figure and the inspiration he drew from fellow contemporaries. The works in the exhibit will depict Degas’ transformation from a portraitist and painter of historical subjects to one who expressed the contemporary life of late 19th century Paris.
“Degas was determined to succeed on his own terms by blurring the boundaries of traditional media and pushing them to extremes,” Standring said. “He excelled both as a colorist and a draughtsman, and met the challenges of new subject matter with experimental techniques. Degas invented an oil medium known as l’essence, in which the oils in oil pigment are leached out and then mixed together with paint thinner, and took his mark-making to new extremes by printing sticky ink drawings, known as monotypes.”
The specially ticketed exhibit will come with a complimentary guided audio tour, and a book full of essays and studies on Degas’ life and work will be available for purchase at the exit of the exhibit.