Thursday, December 29

degas & the nude + the new mfa

hello lovelies!  so tuesday was a trip to the museum of fine arts in boston, to see for myself both the degas exhibition & the new arts of the americas wing.  and it was certainly worth the trip.  

Edgar Degas, La Toilette, 1884-86. Pastel over monotype laid down on board. Private Collection.
Courtesy of Private Collection.
the degas exhibition {Degas and the Nude} focused on the development of the nude figure within the famous impressionist artist's oeuvre, including not only painting, but also within prints {pastel on monograph}, drawing & sculpture.  overall, his use of the nude in developing what we now know as a 'modernist' style or approach was fascinating, as was the graphic and often violent quality of some of the works, particularly the monograph studies of women in brothels.  as you may expect, i greatly prefer degas' ballet scenes, but i also feel that it is important to consider the whole of an artist's work in developing an understanding of the spirit of his work & the exhibition rightly emphasized the importance of an anatomical understanding of the unclothed human body to any figurative painter.  as would in any selection of degas' works, his mastery of color in pastel and his unique 'voyeur' perspective, as if spying in on a private moment, shone through.  the mfa exhibition generally offered a foil to the tremendously popular 'Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement' at the royal academy in london, which closed on december 11th.  

Edgar Degas, The Tub, 1886. Pastel. Paris, Musée d'Orsay, bequest of comte Issac de Camondo, 1911.
© Photo Musée d'Orsay.
Edgar Degas, After the Bath, Woman Drying Her Neck, 1895-98. Pastel on wove paper.
Paris, Musée d'Orsay, bequest of comte Isaac de Camondo, 1911. © Photo Musée d'Orsay.
Edgar Degas, Dancers, Nude Study, about 1899. Charcoal and pastel on wove paper. Photo Credit: Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Art Museum, Partial and promised gift of Emily Rauh Pulitzer in honor of James Cuno, 2002.303.  
Edgar Degas, Dancer Looking at the Sole of her Right Foot, modeled between 1896–1911, cast between 1921–31. Bronze. Paris, Musée d'Orsay.

a trip to the museum also gave the me opportunity to explore the new arts of the americas wing, opened last year, as well as the great courtyard which links it to the original part of the museum.  described as 'a jewel box,' the courtyard holds tables on which new american fare is served & would be a lovely space for an important event or party.  the arts of the americas wing focuses not only on art from the united states, but through north and south america as well, and i believe that this gives it a slight edge over other museums; exposed constantly through my work to american decorative arts, i was delighted to see specimens of furniture from not only 18th century america, but south american countries & the caribbean.  the wing is organized thematically, with the lower ground floor holding a native american art collection, the ground floor with colonial, revolutionary & federal objects, the second floor with 19th century objects, with highlights from the museum's important copley and sergeant holdings, and finally, the third floor with 20th century, more contemporary american art, including a stella & an o'keefe.

Shapiro Family Courtyard, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  Designed by Foster + Partners.
  all in all, i would encourage you to go to the museum & attend the degas exhibition {set to close february 5th} keeping in mind that those looking for his iconic scenes of belle epoque parisian ballet might be disappointed {sigh}.  i genuinely hope all of you in london went & enjoyed the show at the RA immensely!  i hope you are having the most lovely holiday week.  xx hillary

1 comment:

  1. i totally am obsessed with degas. went to the royal academy's exhibit last fall... wish i could have seen the boston one, too! xo


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