Impressionism Part 3, Degas, Cassatt, Morisot

Modern Art, Day 14
February 22nd, 2013
Impressionism, Part 2: Degas, Cassatt, Morisot
Degas, “The Rehearsal,” 1874
 shown at first Impressionist exhibition in 1874
 keen awareness in his work of the social dynamic of the subject matter he chooses
 doesn’t feel the same insistency to work en plein air all the time
 very focused on line; wrote “Draw more!” in his notebook
 had prepped for the Ecole des Beaux Arts with a student of Ingres; respects tradition
 “No art is more spontaneous than my own,” says he studied the great masters
Degas, “Carriage at the Races,” 1872
 woman in the carriage is the wet nurse; a very private moment shown
 cropping; sense of the accidental, capturing life on the fly
 dog sitting on the carriage is almost in the center of the composition
 parasol and dog do not overlap each other, giving no illusion of space and acknowledging the twodimensionality of the image
Degas, “Bellelli Family,” 1858-67
family portraits become history paintings
aunt laura (older woman in black) is a solid giant pyramid; she is the stable figure in the family and is
pregnant; family backs her up and gives her strength
father is mousy; his back is towards the viewer, he’s barricaded by the chair and fireplace, painted in
neutral colors, disconnected from the family
girl in middle is conflicted about choosing between her mother and father
Degas, “In a Café (Absinthe Drinker),” 1876 (2nd Impressionist exhibition, 1876)
 Absinthe was made from wormwood which causes deterioration of the brain and was addictive; woman
reflects its effects
 woman’s feet are slovenly splayed out
 savvy body language and facial expression of the man
 figures are shoved back into the upper right hand corner of the composition
Degas, “Place de la Concorde/Vicomte Lepic and his Daughters,” 1875
 subject was a friend of Degas and amateur print maker and breeder
 portrait of pedigreed individuals, but with family disconnect; figures are all looking in different
 man on left is dramatically cropped
 visual parallel between nose of dog and nose of girl on the right
*side note: “flaneur” means strolling dandy
Degas, “Dancers Practicing on the Bar,” 1876
Degas, “Rehearsal Room, Opera on the rue Le Peletier,” 1872
 linear patterns in the composition
 no subject in the center of the painting where we’d expect it
Degas, “Rehearsal on Stage,” 1874
 straightforward representation of the social life
 big tip of the bass in the foreground
Degas, “Waiting,” 1882
Degas, “Le Defile (Narrow Pass) (False Start),” 1866-68
 shows the awkward moment after a false start when one racer left the gate too early and everyone has
to reconfigure to start again
Cassatt, “At the Opera,” 1879
 at this time in history the lights were not turned off for shows, so audience members also looked at
each other
Cassatt, “The Letter,” 1891 (color
 shows influence of Japanese prints
Morisot, “The Dining Room/ The Little Serving Girl,” 1886 (8th Impressionist Exhibition, 1886)
 pasty solid painting overlaid with flurry strokes
 solid opaque faces recall those of Manet; marries Manet’s brother
Manet, “Repose (Portrait of Berthe
Morisot),” 1870-1
Manet, “Bar at the Folies-Bergere,” 1881
 Last great painting that Manet did before he succumbed to illness at age 50
 bottles that are reflected behind the girl are not placed the same way in the reflection as the real ones
in the image are
 upper left corner shows the legs of a trapeze artist; makes you aware of the canvas