Degas' world: the rage for change
24 January – 3 May 2009 | Orde Poynton GalleryIntroduction | Essay | Gallery | Publication | Catalogue | Events
Eugéne Grasset The acid thrower c 1896 National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Gift of Orde Poynton Esq, AO, CMG, 1993
Degas’ world: the rage for change is an exhibition of European prints from the National Gallery of Australia’s collection, opens in association with the major exhibition Degas: master of French art.
Featuring prints from the National Gallery of Australia’s very distinguished International Print collection, Degas’ world includes works by some of the late nineteenth century’s most famous artists: Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Mary Cassat, Paul Signac and Pierre Bonnard among others. These artists also exhibited in the revolutionary Impressionist exhibitions between 1874 and 1886 of which Degas was a key instigator. In addition, some of their most influential precursors, such as Camille Corot and Honoré Daumier, are highlighted.
The world of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists seen in Degas’ world was one of factories, of pollution, of a dispossessed and alienated urban poor and of burgeoning feminism. For every dainty dancer in this exhibition, there is an aging strung-out junkie; for every innocent, oblivious child, there is the pathetic skin and bones of some has-been courtesan; for every summery frolic on a beach, there is a spectral face caught in the momentary light of a Paris night.