EDGAR DEGAS,Vintage Art Masterpieces,Vintage Prints for Sale After the Bath by EDGAR DEGAS {French School}

After the Bath by EDGAR DEGAS {French School}

After the BathAfter the Bath

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DEGAS was a Parisian with an income, the son of a banker and a Creole
mother born in New Orleans.

He prepared in desultory fashion for the law,
but at the age of twenty-one found his vocation in painting, which he prac­
ticed incessantly to the end of his long life.

Hot-tempered and vituperative, he
ceased to exhibit in 1886, and became a recluse in his Montmartre studio, a
disagreeable old bachelor with an untidy beard, railing at everything new,
alienating all his friends by his sarcasms, and venturing out occasionally,
deaf and half blind, to the greenroom of the opera to study the ballet dancers
and to insult the ancient roues who tottered in to claim their girls.

Degas was tough-minded and disillusioned: in his trenchant detachment,
his honesty, and the perfection of his craft much like another great artist of
the day-Guy de Maupassant.

He spurned the dot-and-dash evasions of the
painters of sunlight, but he was, by broadest definition, a true impressionist
whose ambition, in his own words, was -“to observe his models through the
keyhole,” to gather an eyeful of nature, a vivid segment of life.


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A close stu­dent of photography, he caught his models in eccentric poses, stressing cam­
era effects such as the overexposure of anatomical prominences, dislocated
hnes, and foreshortenings made from odd angles of VIsion.

He did this to
render the intimacy of life as disclosed by people in their natural habits.

He was a man without sentiment, loving nothing but fascinated by the
curious aspects of familiar scenes in which, with his detective’s eye, he saw
the hidden sources of unfamiliar beauty.

For the convenience of his models and
.for his own esthetic requirements, he had, in his studio, what was then un­
known in Paris-a bathroom.

He compelled the girls to undress, bathe, and
make their toilets while he sketched them at close range. The results of this
unusual procedure may be seen in After the Bath, done in pastel, a medium
that Degas used with consummate mastery.

Here a private ablution depicted
with unsparing realism-with none of the enticements of the French nymph
manufacturers-is raised to a high order of decorative art.

The miracle was
performed by guiding the firm outlines of the bather, the curve of the tub,
the footcloth, and the figure of the maid into an arabesque; by the ingenious
distribution of lights and colors, and by posing modeled flesh against a flat
background; but over and beyond formal triumphs, it was performed by the
mysterious workings of the artist’s personality.


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