Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for Lorenzo Pagans and Auguste de gas, 1871-1872. by Edgar de Gas

Dover  Publications, Inc.  Mineola, N.Y.
During the 19th and 20th century, in Europe, America and other countries, the custom of having recitals in one's home was popular.  This particular painting features the tenor, Lorenzo Pagans with his guitar and Degas's father, Auguste de Gas (using the old spelling of Degas).  The concert was in Degas's home and one of many through the years.  Edgar's mother in Degas's early years would sing opera, during these recitals at home. Since she died when Edgar was young, I wonder what thoughts Edgar had while painting this scene.  His father, age 64, in the background seems lost in thought, perhaps thinking of his late wife.

Performance in one's home, small scale or big scale, a time for family members or others to share a talent, musical or dramatic, goes back through historical time.  Remember in "Downton Abbey,"  there was the episode where Kiri te Kawana performed before invited family and guests?  And the scene, also in "Downton Abbey," where the daughters sang for the soldiers who were recuperating at Downton.  

Years ago when I was staying at a B&B in Bath, England, the two ladies who ran the B&B informed me that there would be some entertainment Friday evening and I was invited.  What I did not know is that I was expected to participate.  I honestly do not remember what I did, I have no talent, but I think I sang something.

This post is participatory--have you ever been part of a recital?  What was your "act"?  Details? Please share.


  1. Hi Natasha .. dreadful thought and I'd refuse the invitation or run away ... well I can't sing, or play an instrument .. I think I'd make tea!!

    But the Degas painting - interesting to see and hear about family life at that stage ... also seeing Degas' father so totally engrossed in thought .. perhaps he didn't like guitar music .. cheers Hilary

  2. Hi Hilary: Performing for friends and family, easier if one had large rooms. Before TV and all the rest, it was different then. Now we all sit around and stare at a TV screen or sit in front of a computer--hmmm.

  3. Have been in choirs, sang a strong alto.

    The painting with the father's tender longing face, oh. So much there.

  4. Degas did not like to paint scenery. he painted people and horses, and especially women. But some of his portraits even just a glimpse of a face, are wonderful.