The Eyes

The Eyes

Monday, May 5, 2014

Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt at the National Gallery of Art

Edgar Degas's (1834–1917) influence on fellow impressionist Mary Cassatt (1844–1926) is widely known, but her role in shaping his work and introducing him to American audiences is fully examined for the first time in Degas/Cassatt. On view at the National Gallery of Art, Washington—the sole venue worldwide—from May 11 through October 5, 2014, the exhibition includes some 70 works in a variety of media. 

The Gallery is exceptionally rich in holdings by both artists, with one of the finest collections of works by Cassatt in existence, totaling 119, and the third largest collection of works by Degas in the world, totaling 158. Cassatt's Young Woman in Black (Portrait of Madame J) is on view for the first time beside Degas's Fan Mount: Ballet Girls which appears in the background of her painting.

Degas/Cassatt is organized thematically over four galleries with a focus on the height of Degas and Cassatt's artistic alliance—the late 1870s through the mid-1880s. Included are oil paintings, pastels, and works on paper (etchings, lithographs, monotypes, and drawings), with several that were once in the artists' personal collections. Cassatt stated that her first encounter with Degas's art "changed my life," while Degas, upon seeing Cassatt's art for the first time, reputedly remarked, "there is someone who feels as I do."

Young Woman in Black (Portrait of Madame J) | 1883
Mary Cassatt
Oil on Canvas | 31.5 in. x 25 in.
The Peabody Art Collection
Fan Mount: Ballet Girls | 1879
Edgar Degas
Watercolor, Silver, and Gold on Silk
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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