With a career spanning over sixty years, Edgar Degas is regarded as one of the most diverse and provocative French artists of the 19th Century.
An exquisite painter, many have labelled Degas an impressionist for choosing to primarily paint everyday life. Yet Degas’s fascination with the old masters, Japanese art and the realism of popular illustrators such as Daumier and Gavarni, led him to develop a compositional style that surpassed the Impressionists. In fact, Degas crossed many stylistic boundaries throughout his career. He created paintings, pastels, drawings and sculptures of more than half of which depicted his primary subject matter, dance. In these artworks Degas would often choose to show the dancers backstage or in rehearsal emphasising their status as professionals doing a job. These images, along with his artwork of horse races and women in intimate situations, show his particular mastery in depicting movement and portraying human isolation.