Edgar Degas [1834 – 1917]

Self Portrait
French artist

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas [Degas]

was born,
July 19, 1834
in Paris, France

Famous for his pastel drawings and oil paintings of dancers, Degas also produced bronze sculptures, prints, and drawings.
Although Degas is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, he rejected the term, preferring to be called a realist, and did not paint outdoors as many Impressionists did.

“You know what I think of people who work out in the open. If I were the government I would have a special brigade of gendarmes to keep an eye on artists who paint landscapes from nature. Oh, I don’t mean to kill anyone; just a little dose of bird-shot now and then as a warning.”

Degas was a superb draftsman, and particularly masterly in depicting movement, as can be seen in his rendition of dancers and bathing female nudes. In addition to ballet dancers and bathing women, Degas painted race horses and racing jockeys, as well as portraits. His portraits are notable for their psychological complexity and for their portrayal of human isolation.

As a child, Edgar had a deep passion for music but was also skilled in painting and drawing. He had a rare opportunity to copy or replicate art techniques by various artists whose works were featured at the Louvre. With this opportunity, he was able to create exceptional copies of Rembrandt paintings while studying the styles of Johannes Vermeer and Eugene Delacroix, among other contemporary painters. While in Italy, Degas decided to copy some of the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio who were considered as some of the artist’s inspirations. The masterpiece of these artists became the source of inspiration to the young artist.

Today Degas’s paintings, pastels, drawings, and sculptures are on prominent display in many museums, and have been the subject of many museum exhibitions and retrospectives [rightfully so!].

So here’s a glimpse of this master’s work & words
Musicians in the Orchestra

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.“

Ballet Rehearsal
Woman in a Tub

“No art is less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and the study of the great masters.“

Four Dancers
Meerlandschaft mit Sandstrand bei Ebbe
At the Races in the Countryside

“Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.“

In the theater
After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself
The Bellelli Family

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.”

Portrait of Mlle. Hortense Valpinçon
Rehearsal on Stage
Portrait of Henri Michel-Lévy

“I want to be famous but unknown!”

Dancers at the Bar
Der Vorhang fällt

“A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people”

See und Berge
Race horses

“Art is vice. You don’t wed it, you rape it.”

Dancers in Blue
Vor dem Spiegel

“So that’s the telephone? They ring, and you run.”

The Amateur

“My art, what do you want to say about it? Do you think you can explain the merits of a picture to those who do not see them? . . . I can find the best and clearest words to explain my meaning, and I have spoken to the most intelligent people about art, and they have not understood; but among people who understand, words are not necessary, you say humph, he, ha and everything has been said.”

Beach Scene
Combing the Hair
A Cotton Office in New Orleans

“Muses work all day long and then at night get together and dance…”

Portrait of Mlle Fiocre in the Ballet “La Source”
Tänzerinnen ihre Schuhe bindend
Ballet – l’étoile (Rosita Mauri)

“C’est vrai. Voilá quelqu’un qui sent comme moi. (It is true. There is someone who feels as I do).”

Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando
Madame René de Gas

“Art critic! Is that a profession? When I think we are stupid enough, we painters, to solicit those people’s compliments and to put ourselves into their hands! What shame! Should we even accept that they talk about our work?”

Achille De Gas in the Uniform of a Cadet,
Young Spartans Exercising

“We were created to look at one another, weren’t we”

Before the Race
At the Café Concert – The Song of the Dog

“Success! Success! The enemy of progress!”

Dancer with a Bouquet of Flowers (Star of the Ballet) (also with ballerina Rosita Mauri)
The Millinery Shop

“Everybody has talent at twenty-five. The difficult thing is to have it at fifty.”

Woman Seated beside a Vase of Flowers
Male Nude

“The creation of a painting takes as much trickery and premeditation as the commitment of a crime.”

Édouard Manet and Mme. Manet
Ballett, von einer Loge aus gesehen
After the Bath, Woman Drying Her Neck
The Dance Class (La Classe de Danse)

“I would rather do nothing than do a rough sketch without having looked at anything. My memories will do better.”

James-Jacques-Joseph Tissot
The Singer with the Glove
The Bath – Woman Supporting Her Back

“Rien en art ne doit ressembler à un accident, même le mouvement.”

Kneeling Woman
Woman in Street Clothes, Portrait of Ellen Andrée


Self Portraits



Accompanied by…

Léo Delibes [1836-1891]

Lakmé – Flower duet

Anna Netrebko & Elina Garanca

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky [1840-1893]

Swan Lake

Rudolf Nureyev & Margot Fonteyn

For more information on Degas:











Be Safe 🏡

58 replies »

  1. Each of these paintings is fascinating in its own right, including some that have a touch of the disturbing. I love Degas’s quotes about art, particularly this one, which holds true for writing as well: “Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.“

  2. Well, well, that was neat… browsing the works of Degas while listening to Iron Maiden!
    That’s something you don’t do every day!

  3. I watched one of those highbrow videos about Degas and if I remember right it showed real photos of the dancers he so loved. It was interesting to compare the photographic ‘reality’ to his wonderful interpretations. Our Library is still a risky place, I think, but if I can get it I’ll post it sometime.🤓

  4. Super famous and super amazing too!!! It’s a shame that many great pieces of music have been used in ads. It usually makes people take it for granted or even hate it! 😉 His family name was De Gas but he changed it to Degas for a less grandiose sound to it!

  5. Most Americans who have heard of Degas act as if there’s an acute accent over the e and pronounce his name in a way that English might spell as Day-gah. Your spelling as De Gas shows that the first part of the name is the common French word de that means ‘of’ or ‘from’.

    The duet from Lakmé is super famous. Even many people who don’t know opera have heard it, perhaps in a television commercial.

  6. Beautiful painter… pastels… everything.
    I know his art from his ballerinas. I have a framed print of Ballettschule. It is at least 50 years old.
    It is darker than the one you show here, so it has aged, or the print techniques at the time were not what they are today.
    The music is fab!

    For some reason, you made me think of a book someone gave me ….. YEARS ago. It’s on Watteau.
    His chalk drawings are amazing…anyway that’s another artist. However, now that I’ve dug up the book, I’m going to have a browse through with a coffee!

    Great post, Marina!! Loving this series!

    • Oh, Watteau…. his tribute is a long way. October 10 is his birthday so, it’ll have to wait a bit! 😉 They are amazing!

      Colors also change from site to site! One more reason why it’s best seeing a painting live.

      I’m so happy you’re enjoying these!
      Sending many many hugs and xoxoxoxoxo
      oh and
      Happy Hump Day! 😉

  7. One of my absolute favorites. What a remarkable curator you are. Thank you. I remember an old quote from Richard Pryor: “Have you ever known a 10-year-old who said, ‘when I grow up I wanna be a critic?’“

    • Yes, who doesn’t!!!!!!! The telephone one was funny too and the bird droppings for the outdoor painting artists!!!!! 😉🤣😂 Thank you for the compliment. It’s a joy to me diving in those great artists paintings…

  8. He sure was amazing, Marina. Thank you for sharing his wonderful artwork. Sometimes, it’s hard to fathom how some can be so skilled and talented. Enjoy your day, dear friend. xoxo

  9. What a wonderful artist he was and he obviously had a great love for the ballet. Thanks for posting so many of his paintings. My favourite is “Musicians at the ballet.” Such a different perspective. ❤

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