“Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty”

Art, Masterpiece
4 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)

Incredibly, this show is MoMA’s first-ever monographic exhibition of this Impressionist giant who became one of the most enduring and popular figures of 19th-century art. The exhibit spotlights a little-know aspect of the artist’s work: His experimentation with monotypes, a technique invented in 17th-century Italy. A monotype is created by laying paper down on a metal or glass plate covered with a design in wet paint or ink, then running them through a press to produce a one-of-a-kind print. Degas exploited the full potential of the monotype: Some of the most haunting and abstract images here were the result of initially inking the entire surface of a plate, then creating a subtractive image using brushes, rags or finely-pointed tools. He also add colored pastels in some cases once the monotype dried. All of Degas’s family subjects are here, including ballerinas, theater scenes and landscapes.


Event phone: 212–708-9400
Event website: http://moma.org

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Beyond the ballerinas, this exhibit showed the breadth of Degas' talent in different mediums. I especially liked the mysterious blurred out faces from the ink smudges in the monotypes. It was also beautiful to see his ballerina pieces which were vibrant in color. Pro-tip: MoMA has free Fridays from 4-8 PM every Friday! PS - If you like historical non-fiction, I recommend reading Dancing For Degas by Kathryn Wagner.

I went and saw this the first morning of member previews and it was still crowded. But it was worth it! I, as most people, mostly know Degas for his portraits of ballerinas, but this show exposed me to many new sides of his art. Most of the exhibition was his monotypes, or a way of creating art on a print by applying ink then manipulating it, a sort of negative image. These were beautiful, but my favorite pieces by far were still his paintings. I loved the series of prostitutes as well as his manipulation of naked bodies. But his ballerinas are still the main attraction!