Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for "Visit to a Museum, 1877-80. Edgar Degas

Who are the ladies in the oil, "Visit to a Museum" by Edgar Degas?  It is thought that they are the American artist, Mary Cassat, standing, and her sister, Lydia, who is sitting.

Mary Cassat, an American artist (1844-1926), lived and worked in Paris and was Edgar Degas's friend for 40 years.  Degas helped her and appreciated her work, which was not true for women artists of that time.  He was quoted as saying, "Most women paint as if they are trimming hats, but not you. . . ."  He taught her pastels and other techniques and helped her exhibit with the impressionists, the only American to do so.

The painting does not show us the painting that the women are studying, rather their faces looking at the art.  They are the focal point as you see Mary's serious but intent expression, her head tilted upward.  Her sister is holding the catalog, but looking at the painting also.   Again Degas has an unusual pose, you are drawn to the tilt of her head.  


Visit to a museum, 1877-80.  Edgar Degas.  Dover Press.

9 comments:

  1. In this picture you can really understand what is meant by impressionism.

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    1. I love the colors--how does he do it?

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  2. I love the information behind this photo, and that bench reminded me of the Louvre (still the same design, a low bench) I do like Mary Cassatt's work, and that does look a bit like the Lydia I've seen in Cassatt's paintings. Very nice, loverofwords. I've enjoyed this feature on Degas. Thank you.

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    1. It's been so many years since I was at the Louvre, we had just a short time and I remember practically running through the halls, Mona Lisa here, Winged Victory there, not a good way to see art. Since you know so much about art yourself, DG, that is a nice compliment.

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  3. What a gorgeous painting! I haven't seen that one before, and I devour art books when I'm bookstore browsing. Mary Cassat is a favorite - I used several of her pieces when I wrote a paper in 11th grade about "The Joys of Childhood: Poetry and Art". It was a really difficult assignment that I literally worked myself to death over, but my super strict teacher (who made me a writer) gave me a A. It was the only A I ever got from her, except my poetry recital.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

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    1. Mary Cassat was such good artist and because she was a woman, was held back in many ways, mostly support by fellow artists, (and her father), except Degas. You must have written about Mary C's paintings of women and children, Tina. Congrats on the A!

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  4. Excellent painting. Mary Cassat was a brave woman, painting so bravely during the Suffragette years. I can see the strength in her face, the determination.

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  5. She was brave. Women were not even allowed in the cafes where the other artists hung out. But she was lucky in some ways; she had wealth, although her father would not pay for her paint supplies, just her living expenses. Also women were not allowed to paint in "life" classes which used nude mode;s/

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  6. I like the fact that in spite of the tilt of her head, the lady like style and expressions are still to be noticed.

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