Degas in Australia

Degas1.jpgOur Aussie friends have no doubt already caught word of or been to see the blockbuster exhibition, Degas: Master of French Art, at the National Gallery of Australia, but for those who haven’t yet, it’s on view through March 22.

Among the major highlights of the exhibition—Degas’ visual and literary inspiration, subject matter and themes in his work—is the focus on the artist’s transformation and development of style.

The accompanying exhibition, “Degas’ World: The Rage for Change,” just opened on Friday and continues through May 3.

If you can’t make it to Canberra, you can view a gallery of the included works and trailers of the exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia’s website.

Edgar Degas, The Dance Class  (c. 1873; oil on canvas, 47.6 x 62.2 cm). The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. William A Clark Collection, 1926

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One thought on “Degas in Australia

  1. Gary Arseneau

    All so-called sculptures in bronze, attributed to Edgar Degas, are posthumous -counterfeits-.

    Edgar Degas was some three or more years dead (d. 1917) when those 2nd to 3rd-generation-removed counterfeits were posthumously reproduced in bronze with counterfeit -Degas- signatures applied between 1920 to 1936 or later.

    The dead don’t sculpt, much less sign anything.

    This factual perspective is confirmed in the National Gallery of Art’s published 1998 Degas at the Races catalogue. On page 180 in Daphne S. Barbour’s and Shelly G. Strum’s “The Horse in Wax and Bronze” essay, these authors write: “Degas never cast his sculpture in bronze, claiming that it was a “tremendous responsibility to leave anything behind in bronze — the medium is for eternity.”

    Additionally, on the National Gallery of Art’s website, it states: “By comparing the sculpture to stylistic changes in Degas’ paintings and pastels, we are developing a chronology for the sculpture, which Degas did not date or sign.”

    In the United States the Association of Art Museum Directors endorses the College Art Association’s ethical guidelines on sculptural reproductions. In part, those ethical guidelines state: "any transfer into new material unless condone by the artist, is to be considered inauthentic or counterfeit and should not be acquired or exhibited as works of art."

    In closing, the St. Louis Museum of Art, that loaned the so-called Little Dancer in bronze to the National Gallery of Australia, is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors.

    Gary Arseneau
    artist & scholar
    Fernandina Beach, Florida USA