June 24, 2016
NGV International | 24 June – 18 September 2016
An exhibition of one of the world’s most beloved artists, Edgar Degas, opened at the NGV International today, showcasing significant works never seen before in Australia.
In its world premiere, Degas: A New Vision presents the largest display of the artist’s works to ever come to Australia, and forms the most comprehensive retrospective of his oeuvre in decades. Featuring more than 200 works, the exhibition reveals Degas’ talent in a new light, not only as a great master of painting, but also of drawing, printmaking, sculpture and photography. The works travel to Melbourne from 65 lenders in more than 40 cities across the globe.
Among the artist’s masterworks are his iconic bronze sculpture The little fourteen-year-old dancer (1879–81), In a café (The Absinthe drinker), (1875–76), pictured above, The rehearsal, (1874) Finishing the arabesque, (1877), and The Bellelli family, (1867), pictured below.
The exhibition is presented thematically, grouping subjects that Degas continually returned to throughout his career including not only his famous ballet scenes but also arresting portraits, nudes, horse-racing, Parisian nightlife, and women at work and leisure.
The exhibition also explores the great technical, conceptual and expressive freedoms that Degas achieved in his later years, and reveals his experiments with a range of mediums including sculpture and photography. Degas’ obsessive, highly creative working methods are emphasised and visitors can enjoy the development of his art from its beginnings.
Degas was fascinated by aspects of modern life, voraciously painting Paris’ dance halls and cabarets, cafés, racetracks, opera and ballet stages. He also studied the simple, everyday gestures of working women: milliners, dressmakers and laundresses. He was drawn to explore movement that was precise and disciplined, such as that of racehorses and ballet dancers, and absorbed a diverse range of influences from Japanese prints to Italian Mannerism.
The National Gallery of Victoria worked with the world’s pre-eminent expert on Edgar Degas, Henri Loyrette, a former Director of the Musée du Louvre (2001–13) and Musée d’Orsay (1994–2001), Mr. Loyrette is principal curator of the exhibition.
The gallery is staging this major retrospective with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and in association with Art Exhibitions Australia. After its Melbourne season, Degas: A New Vision will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in October.