The Private Collection of Edgar Degas

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9780300086560: The Private Collection of Edgar Degas

This volume represents a reconstruction of Edgar Degas' private collection of over 5000 paintings, drawings and prints. It came to light at his death in 1917 and has long since been dispersed. The collection featured many works by the French 19th-century masters, Delacroix, Ingres and Daumier. It also demonstrated Degas' profound interest in the art of his contemporaries, particularly Manet, Cezanne, Gauguin, van Gogh and Cassatt. Degas' passionate pursuit of the art he admired, his relationships with other artists, his desire to found a museum, and the sale of his work at auction in 1918 as the bombs fell on Paris, are among the topics discussed in 11 accompanying essays.

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Review:

When Edgar Degas died in 1917, his heirs found crate after crate gathering dust in the rented rooms inhabited by the isolated old artist. The opened containers revealed one of the greatest personal art collections of all time: There were paintings, drawings, and prints by El Greco, Ingres, Delacroix, Daumier, Cassatt, Manet, van Gogh, Cézanne, and Degas himself, including the famous Bellelli Family, a work from his youth that Degas could never bear to part with. When his heirs auctioned off the collection in 1918, governments granted national museums special funds to make purchases, even though it was the height of World War I and money was tight. The museums, it turned out, were also aided by the war--on the day of the sale, cannon fire sent most bidders running for cover. The ones who remained got bargain prices. This gorgeous book is filled with color plates of many of the paintings, and its 14 thoughtful essays are invaluable to comprehending the tastes of a single artist, one with the eye and the wherewithal to put together such an amazing collection.

Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

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