“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” Edgar Degas
Five things to know about Edgar Degas:
1. Degas loved the Louvre. His parents took him there when he was small for Sunday outings where he would study the paintings while his brother slid down the halls. Later Degas would copy some of the paintings in homage.
2. Although he is well known for his paintings of ballet and horse races, Degas also made hundreds of studies of the female nude, painting them in every angle, in every pose and in all different lights. This is ironic, as he never had a female partner and is renowned for his sexual abstinence.
3. Degas hated the term Impressionism and preferred to be called a Realist.
4. When he made his studies of woman, Degas was battling blindness. From the 1880’s onward, he could actually see very little, and had a large dark spot in the center of his visual field. It was at this time, that he began using pastels instead of oil paints, because he felt he could achieve his desired result quicker with pastel than oil.
5. Degas turned to sculpture when he was nearly blind, creating a series of figures in wax, some of which were cast in bronze after his death, by relying solely on his sense of touch.
More of Degas’ female nudes:
Degas said that his female figures were unique. He claimed that, prior to his work, painted nudes presupposed an observer. He said his figures, on the other hand, “portrayed the human animal self-absorbed” and he described his women as “simple, honest folk concerned only with their physique.”
I have chosen to pair Degas’ female studies with Teil Duncan’ s nudes, because Teil’s female figures also have a certain air of self absorption. They too seem oblivious to any onlooker.
Degas rarely showed the face of the women he portrayed. Teil does depict a frontal view at times, but the facial features are often not developed.
Here are more of her nudes.
In my opinion, Teil Duncan’s paintings are an absolute steal. I didn’t click on every painting on her website (she is prolific), but it appeared that prices begin at $140, with her largest works selling in the range of $1100. Paintings sell quickly but she posts her latest work on her tunblr. This gal is going places! Do pay a visit to her website, where I sourced these images.
The idea behind my column, Art School, is to give people more confidence when purchasing art. It’s true that you really can’t go wrong, if you buy what you love. Still, studying famous artists and works of art from the past does help you recognize emerging talent. With Art School, I will feature 5 things to know about an artist or work of art in art history and suggest a contemporary artist whose work is complimentary.