EDGAR DEGAS at the Fondation Beyeler, September 30, 2012 – January 27, 2013
For the first time in Switzerland and southern Germany in twenty years, the Fondation Beyeler is presenting an exhibition of Edgar Degas (1834 –1917), one of the most renowned French painters of the late nineteenth century. At the same time, this is the first exhibition anywhere to be exclusively devoted to his rich and various late work, which commenced in about 1886. This period marked the artistic apotheosis of a daring pioneer of modernism.
Although Degas's art enjoys extreme popularity, exhibitions generally focus on his Impressionist phase (c. 1870 –1885) or on certain aspects of his oeuvre. The Fondation Beyeler show, comprising more than 150 works, covers all the themes and motifs that marked his late phase – fascinating depictions of dancers and female nudes, jockeys and racehorses, and surprising landscapes and portraits. All of the media Degas employed are included: painting, pastel, drawing and prints, as well as sculpture and photography. Experimenting like no other artist of his day with diverse forms of expression, Degas created his sensuous late work in an obsessional ecstasy of color in which past and present, things seen and remembered, entered an indissolubly interwoven whole.
The exhibition unites masterworks from the collections of renowned European, North American and Asian museums. Especially important are the numerous loans from outstanding private collections. These are often works that have not been on public view for decades.