Edgar Degas

(July 19, 1834 � September 27, 1917) Born Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas in Paris, France, he was the oldest of five children. His father, a banker, encouraged his son's artistic inclination.

Degas' innovative style, influenced by photography and Japanese woodblock prints called Ukiyo-e (Japonism), his skillful drawing, and perceptive analysis of movement made him one of the masters of progressive art in the late 19th century. He is especially known for his paintings of ballet dancers. Degas is often considered an impressionist, some of his work shows classical and realist styles, and other times romanticism.

His art of the late 1860s reflects his changing views. He turned to theatre and the racetrack for inspiration. The influence of Japanese art and its depiction of figures began to show in his paintings.

In the 1880s, with his eyesight failing, Degas shifted his talent to sculpture and pastel, which did not require such acute vision. By the 1890s worked only on large compositions and in 1908 he gave up art completely. Ever more reclusive and eccentric, Degas was evicted from his home and a new studio was found for him, but he never settled there. He wandered the streets like a blind Homer.

Famous and revered, Degas died in Paris on September 27, 1917 and is buried in the Cimeti�re de Montmartre, Paris, France. Degas left more than 2,000 oil paintings and pastels and 150 sculptures.

- By Julie V.

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