site map    


Search:: Artists Alphabetically   Symbolism   50 Greatest Paintings   Art Movements

Edgar Degas


 French Impressionist Painter and Sculptor

His Style Was Influenced by the following Painters  - Manet, Jean Auguste Ingres, Monet, Renoir, and the Renaissance.  

Education - Ecole des Beaux Art, Paris, France

Mediums - oil on canvas, pastel, drawing,  bronze

Cause of Death - Degas had retinal eye disease and was nearly blind when he died of old age.

Description of Edgar Degas Style

Degas's painting style, subject matter, and psychology of movement set him apart from the other Impressionists. He sought to capture the essence of the subject through effects created by using light and color in new and innovative ways. Degas never worked outside, preferring the indoor studio environment. Degas once stated "No art is less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and the study of the great masters." He executed his masterpieces from live models with bold strokes and graceful applications of color. Over time his eye sight deteriorated to the point of near blindness.

Edgar Degas felt that Parisian life should be recorded in a lively vibrant palette. He focused on ballet dancers, historical subjects, portraits of his family and friends and the joyous eccentricities of Parisian life. According to Art historian Camille Mauclair "Degas is beyond all a draughtsman of the first order. His spirit is quite classical. He commenced by making admirable copies of the Italian Primitives, notably of Fra Angelico, and the whole first series of his works speaks of that influence: portraits, heads of deep, mat, amber colour, on a ground of black or grey tones, remarkable for a severity of intense style, and for the rare gift of psychological expression. To find the equal of these faces—after having stated their classic descent—one would have to turn to the beautiful things by Ingres, and certainly Degas is, with Ingres, the most learned, the most perfect French draughtsman of the nineteenth century. An affirmation of this nature is made to surprise those who judge.

 Camille Mauclair Further states "Impressionism with preconceived ideas. It is none the less true that, if a series of Degas's first portraits were collected, the comparison would force itself upon one's mind irrefutably. In face of the idealist painting of Romanticism, Ingres represented quite clearly the cult of painting for its own sake. His ideas were mediocre, and went scarcely beyond the poor, conventional ideal of the Academy; but his genius was so great, that it made him paint, together with his tedious allegories, some incomparable portraits and nudes. He thought he was serving official Classicism, which still boasts of his name, but in reality he dominated it; and, whilst he was an imitator of Raphael, he was a powerful Realist. The Impressionists admire him as such, and agree with him in banishing from the art of painting all literary imagination, whether it be the tedious mythology of the School, or the historical anecdote of the Romanticists. Degas and Besnard admire Ingres as colossal draughtsman, and, beyond all, as man who, in spite of the limitations of his mind, preserved the clear vision of the mission of his art at a time when art was used for the expression of literary conceptions."


Edgar Degas Art Quotations

One must do the same subject over again ten times, a hundred times. In art nothing must resemble an accident, not even movement. --- Edgar Degas

In painting you must give the idea of the true by means of the false. --- Edgar Degas

Make a drawing. Start all over again. Trace it. Start it and trace it again. You must do over the same subject ten times, a hundred times. In art nothing must appear accidental even a movement. --- Edgar Degas

These women of mine are decent, simple human beings who have no other concern than that of their physical condition... it is as though one were watching through a keyhole. --- Edgar Degas

Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things. --- Edgar Degas

 It is a tremendous responsibility to leave anything behind in bronze?that medium is for eternity. --- Edgar Degas

The fascinating thing, is not to show the source of light, but the effect of light. --- Edgar Degas

Realism is more important than the sentiment of the picture.--- Edgar Degas

The true traveler never arrives. .--- Edgar Degas

Drawing is not what one sees but what one can make others see. --  Edgar Degas

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see. ---Edgar Degas

 ---Edgar Degas

Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do. ---Edgar Degas


The Principal Impressionist Painters

Auguste Renoir

 Claude Monet

Alfred Sisley

Frederic Bazille

Gustave Caillebotte

Edgar Degas

Mary Cassatt

Armand Guillaumin

Berthe Morisot

Require more information about Edgar Degas in Art History? Type your query in art into the google search box below and poke around every nook and cranny of the known universe for information this subject.  Search Here If you like this page and wish to share it, you are welcome to link to it, with our thanks.

If you feel you have worthwhile information you would like to contribute we would love to hear from you. We collect essential biographical information and artist quotes from folks all over the globe and appreciate your participation. When submitting please, if possible, site the source and provide English translation. email the editor

Byzantine 500-1450  Romanesque 950-1250
Gothic 1150-1580 Florentine
Sienese School 1150-1550 Venetian
Early Renaissance  1350-1500  
High Renaissance 1450-1530  
Northern Renaissance 1350-1600  
Mannerism  1510-1600  
Baroque 1600-1750  
Rococo  1710-1790  
Neoclassical 1740-1835  
Romanticism 1750-1860  
Hudson River School 1825-1880  
Orientalism 1800-1885  
Academic Classicism 1865-1920   
Victorian Classicism 1845-1895  
Pre-Raphaelite 1840-1855  
Impressionism 1860-1895
Symbolism  1860-1910
Postimpressionism 1882-1915
Pointillism  1885-1903
Nabis 1890-1898
Tonalism 1880-1920
Art Nouveau 1890-1920
Art Deco 1915-1940
Cubism 1905-1920