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Edgar Degas in Philadelphia Collections

February 17–April 14, 1985

Edgar Degas, unlike his Impressionist peers, had little interest in landscape painting, choosing instead to concentrate on figures in contemporary society. The Museum has assembled some 25 paintings, pastels, sculptures, and drawings from its permanent collection and from private lenders in the Philadelphia area to provide a rich comparative context for the major traveling exhibition of his prints. The incisiveness of Degas's observation, the ingenuity of his compositions, and the subtle beauty of his coloring rank him among the greatest masters of the 19th century. Several paintings and pastels of ballet classes reveal his interest in capturing the transient movements and characteristic attributes of dancers, rather than classic, idealized poses. Women bathing is another subject to which Degas returned many times. After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself, which the Museum acquired in 1980, is one of Degas's most important later paintings. In this work, he no longer simply describes an act but uses the nude figure and her pose to express a state of great poignancy and even pathos.

Main Building


The Pew Memorial Trust


Joseph J. Rishel

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