top of page
Australian Art Exhibitions Museum art gallery exhibiton design NGA National Gallery of Australia Degas exhibition masthead

12 December 2008 – 22 March 2009, National Gallery of Australia

Australian Art Exhibitions Museum art gallery exhibiton design NGA National Gallery of Australia Degas exhibition Jane Kinsman Musée d'Orsay Dance class

This was the first exhibition held in Australia devoted to Edgar Degas, one of the most significant and admired French artists of the nineteenth century. 

 

Degas: Master of French Art highlighted the artist’s favourite theme - portraying modern life in Paris. It presented important paintings and sculptures depicting modern French subject matter - horseracing, the ballet, behind-the-scenes views at the opera, the café-concert, the brothels, and depictions of milliners, laundresses and women bathing – all demonstrating his skill as a master painter, sculptor and draughtsman.

Jane Kinsman, Curator of DEGAS: Master of French Art, discusses The Dance Class 1875-76, on loan from the Musée d'Orsay, with students visiting the exhibition

The works were brought together from the worlds most important collections of Degas, including: the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the National Gallery, London, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, the Los Angeles County Museum and J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation, Princeton, Boston Museum of Fine Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the National Gallery of Scotland, Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, the Bibliothèque Nationale and the Jacques Doucet Collection, Paris, as well as generous support from Australian public and private collections. 

A major theme throughout the exhibition was Degas’ transformation as an artist and his recurrent experimentation, leading to his mature and very distinctive style. Spanning the period from Degas early portraiture and concluding with his later experimental paintings, monotypes and photographs of the 1890s. 

 

The final work in the exhibition, which was also voted the most popular, was a dramatic presentation of Degas' best known work, Little Dancer of fourteen years c.1880, St Louis Art Museum.

Australian Art Exhibitions Museum art gallery exhibiton design NGA National Gallery of Australia Degas exhibition Little dancer 1880

The exhibition, which was opened by Guy Cogeval, Director of the Musée d’Orsay on 12 December 2008, attracted 153,033 visitors over its 100 day season, with 70% of visitors travelling from interstate and contributing $30.3 million into the local economy.

bottom of page