Edgar Degas Painter and sculptor
Edgar Degas painting available at Grand Gallery.
Painter and sculptor Edgar Degas was a highly celebrated 19th century French Impressionist whose work helped shape the fine art landscape for years to come.
Born on July 19, 1834, in Paris, France, Edgar Degas went on to study at the École des Beaux-Arts (formerly the Académie des Beaux-Arts) in Paris and became renowned as a stellar portraitist, fusing Impressionistic sensibilities with traditional approaches. Both a painter and sculptor, Degas enjoyed capturing female dancers and played with unusual angles and ideas around centering. His work influenced several major modern artists, including Pablo Picasso. Degas died in Paris in 1917.
Edgar Degas was born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar de Gas on July 19, 1834, in Paris, France.
His father, Auguste, was a banker, and his mother, Celestine, was an American from New Orleans. Their family were members of the middle class with nobler pretensions. For many years, the Degas family spelled their name “de Gas”; the preposition “de” suggesting a land-owning aristocratic background which they did not actually have.
As an adult, Edgar Degas reverted back to the original spelling. Degas came from a very musical household; his mother was an amateur opera singer and his father occasionally arranged for musicians to give recitals in their home. Degas attended the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, a prestigious and rigorous boys’ secondary school, where he received a classical education.
Degas also displayed a remarkable skill for drawing and painting as a child, a talent encouraged by his father, who was a knowledgeable art lover. In 1853, at the age of 18, he received permission to “copy” at the Louvre in Paris. (During the 19th century, aspiring artists developed their technique by attempting to replicate the works of the masters.) He produced several impressive copies of Raphael as well, studying the work of more contemporary painters such as Ingres and Delacroix.