Lot 35: Uncommon Autograph Letter by Edgar Degas, Leading Impressionist Painter
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
26 October 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: Uncommon Autograph Letter by Edgar Degas, One of the Leading Impressionist Painters********** DEGAS, EDGAR. (1834-1917). French artist and one of the founders of Impressionism. ALS. (“Degas”). 1p. 8vo. Paris, N.d. (between 1890 and 1912). To a gentleman. In French with translation. ********** “Yes, I am looking forward to our talk and you won’t believe it when I tell you that I was supposed to go on a short trip and that I am postponing it again. Give me an appointment either at your place or at mine for after the 15th. I was very touched by your greetings and your kindness…” ********** Degas began to paint early, first at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and then in Italy. He exhibited his realistic works at the Salon, but by the 1870s had become disillusioned with that staid institution. At that time, he joined with Renoir, Monet, Sisley, and Pissarro, the painters who launched their own exhibition in 1874, becoming known as the Impressionists (a term that Degas did not approve of), after Monet’s painting Impression: Sunrise. Unlike many of his Impressionist colleagues, Degas is not known for landscapes but for his depictions of racehorses, bathers and dancers through which he conveyed the experience of isolation. ********** “In 1890 [Degas] moved to 37 Rue Victor Masse on the lower slopes of Montmartre, occupying its top three floors, one for his art collection, another for his salon and bedroom. The attic floor was his studio, sordid and gloomy, cluttered with props and darkened by drapes to cut the light that hurt his eyes,” (“The Unsung Glories of Degas’s Twilight Years,” The New York Times, Kimmelman). He remained in his Place Pigalle neighborhood home until 1912, where he entertained artists who “sought the advice and approval of the master. His friends, the painters Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt, visited to discuss their evolving styles and exploration into other genres,” (“Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec in Place Pigalle Neighborhood,” www.francefootsteps.com). ********** Written on a carte-lettre with one horizontal fold, and in excellent condition. Elegantly framed with a silk matte, translation on a metal plaque and a color reproduction of Degas’ pastel of a ballerina on stage, L'etoile [La danseuse sur la scene].