Image credit Danseuses, jupes jaunes (Deux danseuses en jaune), ca. 1896
The Fondation Beyeler
T +41 - (0)61 - 645 97 00
F +41 - (0)61 - 645 97 19
Open every day, 10.00–18.00, Wednesdays, 10.00–20.00
The museum is open on Sundays and on all public holidays.
Opening Times Viennese Coffee House:
Daily 10am - 6pm, Wednesdays 10am - 8pm
| Published ||October 1, 2012 at 12:57pm|
| Seen ||1429 times|
The Fondation Beyeler, Painting, Basel, Switzerland
Sunday September 30, 2012 - Sunday January 27, 2013 - Event ended.
For the first time in Switzerland and southern Germany in twenty years, the Fondation Beyeler is presenting an exhibition of Edgar Degas (1834 –1917), one of the most renowned French painters of the late nineteenth century. At the same time, this is the first exhibition anywhere to be exclusively devoted to his rich and various late work, which commenced in about 1886. This period marked the artistic apotheosis of a daring pioneer of modernism.
Although Degas's art enjoys extreme popularity, exhibitions generally focus on his Impressionist phase (c. 1870 –1885) or on certain aspects of his oeuvre. The Fondation Beyeler show, comprising more than 150 works, covers all the themes and motifs that marked his late phase – fascinating depictions of dancers and female nudes, jockeys and racehorses, and surprising landscapes and portraits. All of the media Degas employed are included: painting, pastel, drawing and prints, as well as sculpture and photography. Experimenting like no other artist of his day with diverse forms of expression, Degas created his sensuous late work in an obsessional ecstasy of color in which past and present, things seen and remembered, entered an indissolubly interwoven whole.
The exhibition unites masterworks from the collections of renowned European, North American and Asian museums. Especially important are the numerous loans from outstanding private collections. These are often works that have not been on public view for decades.
In an artistic career that spanned sixty years Edgar Degas (1834–1917) produced an oeuvre far greater in size and scope than those of such contemporaries of his as Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir. Whereas his fellow Impressionists concentrated almost exclusively on oil painting, Degas also created thousands of drawings and pastels and experimented with printing techniques. For a time he even engaged intensively with photography. And the posthumous Exposition des sculptures de Degas (1921) established his reputation as one of the great painter-sculptors of the modern era.
The Fondation Beyeler’s Degas exhibition is the first ever to be devoted exclusively to the late work. It explores in detail the richness of the artist’s achievement in this culminating phase of his career, beginning in the latter half of the 1880s, with the first signs of a fundamental change in the style and content of his work. He began to abandon the delicate, detailed handling that had been the hallmark of his Impressionist style and gradually stopped producing “picturesque,” genre-like images of city life. After the eighth and last Impressionist exhibition, in 1886, Degas turned his back on the art world and gradually withdrew from public life. This encouraged a view of him as a misanthropic recluse, a view still widespread today. Shielded from the outside world, this unconventional bachelor lived in a kind of “inner emigration,” existing for and in his art. He depicted his principal subjects—ballet dancers and female nudes, jockeys and racehorses, landscapes and portraits—in ever new variations and combinations. These extensive sequences of “serial products” embodied an innovative and prophetic notion of the work of art: each image not only constituted a self-sufficient (master)work; it also related to the conceptual parameters of a constant “work in progress.” The exhibition therefore includes examples of every technique and motif featured in the artist’s oeuvre, presented according to their relative importance.
Degas apparently created what he once called “orgies of color” in a trancelike state in which past and present, things he remembered and things he saw in front of him, merged imperceptibly with each other. In his deliberately chosen isolation he created one of the most compelling, almost obsessive late oeuvres in the entire history of European art.
The exhibition has been devised by guest curator Martin Schwander in collaboration with Michiko Kono, Associate Curator at the Fondation Beyeler.