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Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas (July 19, 1834 - September 27, 1917) was a French painter and sculptor.

- Edgar Degas -

Born Edgar Hilaire Germain de Gas in Paris, France, he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, at first heavily influenced by Ingres. Degas' innovative composition, skillful drawing, and perceptive analysis of movement made him one of the masters of modern art in the late 19th century. He is especially known for his paintings of ballet dancers and other women, as well as of race horses. He is often considered an Impressionist, but his work sometimes goes more in classical and realist directions, other times to Romanticism.

In Montmartre, he had an affair with one of his models, Suzanne Valadon. Degas would encourage her efforts to paint and she would eventually become one of the best known female artists of the day.

Degas lived with relatives in New Orleans, Louisiana 1872-1873. One of the paintings he did there and then brought back to France, The Cotton Exchange at New Orleans got him favorable attention, and was his only work purchased by a museum (that of Pau) during his lifetime.

In the 1880s, when his eyesight began to fail, Degas shifted his talent to sculpture and pastel that did not require such acute vision.

He died in Paris and is buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre, Paris, France.

La Classe de Danse
Painted 1874
Larger version

Today, prices for paintings by Degas can sell for more than US$16 million.

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