a u g u s t  8s e p t e m b e r  14,  2008

vprostr610 The World of Half Light. Illustrations by Edgar Degas

Degas the painter is well-known for his ballet classes, stage productions, portraits and horse races. Less known is Degas the sculptor (although, according to Ambroise Vollard, Renoir called Degas “the greatest of the living sculptors”) who made small figurines of dancing ballerinas, women at their dressing tables and running horses of wax and Plasticine. Bronze casts were made of those works after the death of the master on the initiative of his heirs. While Degas was still alive, only his artist friends and collectors who visited his studio knew of their fragile originals. Even less known is Degas the engraver and Degas the illustrator, while he did a lot of etchings and monotypes.

Two series of engravings put on show are compositions that were used as illustrations to two rich editions made on the initiative of two famous book lover publishers, Ambroise Vollard and Auguste Blaizot, in the 1930s, nearly twenty years after Degas’ death. They are respectively Lucien. Les mimes des courtisanes, translated by Pierre Louys. Edition Ambroise Vollard. Paris, 1935, and Ludovic Halevy. La famille Cardinal. Edition Auguste Blaizot. Paris, 1938.



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