Degas: the uncontested master
Jane Kinsman with Michael Pantazzi

Horses, ballerinas, laundresses are [Degas’] predilections and of all the things in the world which surround him seem to preoccupy him exclusively. But what truth there is in his draughtsmanship, and how astute is his understanding of colour.
Jules-Antoine Castagnary, 1874

Born in Paris in 1834, Edgar Degas was considered a radical artist in his adoption of modern subject matter and he was to become a key figure in the evolution of modern art. Degas: the uncontested master covers the period from Degas’ early portraiture and historical subject matter of the 1870s through his move to modern subject matter, to his late experimental paintings and photographs from the 1890s until his death in 1917.

Published in conjunction with Degas master of French art, the book includes work from the many mediums Degas used — painting, sculpture, printing, pastels, monotypes and photography — and his favourite subjects: the ballet, the opera, the racetrack, women in bordellos and bathing, milliners and laundresses. It conveys the richness of colour and Degas’ experimental approach with his mediums.

Contributing authors

Jane Kinsman is the curator of the Degas: master of French art exhibition and a Senior Curator in International Art at the National Gallery of Australia. Her previous publications and exhibitions at the National Gallery include James Rosenquist: welcome to the water planet (2006); An artist abroad: the prints of James McNeil Whistler (2005); After image: screenprints of Andy Warhol (2003); The art of collaboration: the big Americans (2002); Intimate Matisse (1999); Dance hall days: French posters from Chéret to Toulous-Lautrec (1998); Picasso and the Vollard Suite (1997); Paris in the late 19th century (1996); The wild ones (1995); The prints of Kitaj (1994); Picture puzzles: Marcel Broodthaers (1987); and Daumier and Gavarni (1985).

Michael Pantazzi is a recognised Degas scholar. Until 2006 he was Curator of European and American Art at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa and he has contributed to various international exhibitions and their publications, including Corot (2006); Daumier (1999–2000); Corot (1996–97); Egyptomania (1994–95); Degas (1988–89); Art of the avant-garde in Russia (1982–83); and The age of Louis V (1977–78). Among articles on Degas, he published the artist’s correspondence with his sister, Thérese, and he is currently part of a group working on a catalogue raisonné of Degas’ drawings. Michael Pantazzi was a Scholar at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, in 1988 and has been a guest lecturer at numerous institutions, most recently at the Université de Paris, and the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris. In 2002 he was appointed a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters of France. 

Simeran Maxwell is the Exhibition Assistant for Degas at the National Gallery of Australia.

Ted Gott is Senior Curator, International Art, at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Mark Henshaw, Curator, International Prints, Drawings and Illustrated Books at the National Gallery of Australia, translated much of the French text for Jane Kinsman’s essay and advised on the essay by Michael Pantazzi.


Publication date: December  2008
288 pages, pb with flaps, 290 x 240 mm
Beautifully designed and richly illustrated in full colour with over 170 illustrations.
RRP AUD $49.95
NGA exhibition price $39.95
ISBN 9780642541932

Available from the NGA shop or mailorder, and selected bookstores.

Distributed by Thames & Hudson (Australia and Europe) and University of Washington Press (USA)

Bonjour Degas
a word book in English and French

This delightful book designed for children looks at details of paintings by famous 19th century French artist Edgar Degas.

It includes his favourite subjects—ballerinas and dance classes, horses and riders, and people at work.

You will discover the words for things in the paintings and for colours in English and French.

Publication date: 22 December 2008
56 pages, laminated hard cover, 150 x 150 mm
RRP $19.95 / NGA exhibition price $14.95
ISBN 9780642334008

Available from the NGA shop or mailorder, and selected bookstores.

Distributed by Thames & Hudson (Australia and Europe) and University of Washington Press (USA)