Degas

Overview

An intriguing, marvelously illustrated, landmark survey of this popular painter's work.We tend to think of Degas as an Impressionist who painted lovely ballerinas and lively scenes at the racetrack. As Werner Hofmann so ably demonsrates in his magisterial new study, that viewpoint fails to do justice to the issues that Degas addressed in his art and to how innovative he truly was. Focusing on people in their social environment, on their relationships and their frequent isolation, Degas embraced many kinds of ...

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2007 Hardcover New 0500093415. FLAWLESS COPY, BRAND NEW, PRISTINE, NEVER OPENED---Corresponds to ISBN: 0500093415. 320 pages, 244 illustrations (184 in color), large 4to.

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Overview

An intriguing, marvelously illustrated, landmark survey of this popular painter's work.We tend to think of Degas as an Impressionist who painted lovely ballerinas and lively scenes at the racetrack. As Werner Hofmann so ably demonsrates in his magisterial new study, that viewpoint fails to do justice to the issues that Degas addressed in his art and to how innovative he truly was. Focusing on people in their social environment, on their relationships and their frequent isolation, Degas embraced many kinds of personal alientaiton in his work.His early paintings depict members of the bourgeoisie mainly in the role of observers (as in The Bellelli Family of 1859). Degas shows them indulging in leisure pursuits, as art collectors and museum visitors, or as members of the public at the theater and the races, but they are self-involved and shrouded in silence.This aura of self-posessed calm contrasts with that of the people who inhabit the world of entertainment. Degas depicted all the stages of public performance: behind the scenes, the performances themselves, and the post-performance collapse of illusion, Hofmann investigates this in various contexts: the self-absorbed body (women at their toilette); the trained body (ballet rehearsals and dancers on stage); musicians; and the marketed body (women in brothels).Werener Hofmann was Director of the Kunsthalle in Hamburg from 1970 to 1990. His many books include Goya and Caspar David Friedrich.

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Editorial Reviews

Antiques and the Arts Weekly
“Lovely and rewarding.”
Library Journal

Edgar Degas is among the best-loved artists of the 19th century and one of the most influential of the 20th. Not surprisingly, the literature on this French artist is voluminous and includes many excellent exhibition catalogs analyzing his paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, and photography. Into this mix, international art historian Hofmann (Caspar David Friedrich) manages to deliver a book that is not redundant. While less focused than many other studies, it offers a clear, thematic organization via 13 chapters in easily digestible language as well as an excellent sampling of art. Pursuing a recent trend in Degas scholarship to view the master as vanguard experimenter and "a man apart," Hofmann takes us beyond Degas's best-known ballet scenes to a series of intimate interior portraits and streetscapes fraught with spatial tension, unusual composition, and bold execution. Thanks to beautiful reproductions, we can follow Hofmann's careful eye and art historical comparisons and every so often be startled by his revelations. With an excellent select bibliography, this is a good general reference work on Degas's powers and modern vision. Recommended.
—Prudence Peiffer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500093412
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 10/29/2007
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 10.60 (w) x 12.50 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Werner Hofmann was Director of the Kunsthalle in Hamburg from 1970 to 1990. His many books include Goya and Caspar David Friedrich.
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