Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New home for Degas painting

Congratulations Saint Louis Art Museum for your recent acquisition, Edgar Degas’ phenomenal painting, The Milliners (Les Modistes).


Degas has long been one of my personal favorites of the late 19th and early 20th century European artists. I remember clearly the first time I saw his tremendous work in person the first time I ventured into the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC in the summer of 1990.

I was in my early twenties and I had just moved to DC from a small university town in Kentucky. It was a pivotal and life changing move and that summer presented the expected torrent of discoveries and new experiences that naturally accompany youth and transition.

As an young artist in Kentucky, I had only read about the splendors of the famous museums and galleries during Art History class. Then, as if floating through a blur of a hundred fast forward buttons, one day I found myself standing in front of Degas’ astounding work, “Four Dancers” in the National Gallery Of Art in Washington, DC.


It was a mesmerizing moment and I became completely lost in it. Though, “moment” isn’t the correct word, and frankly, I’m not sure what would be. It wasn’t a moment as much as it was a cloak of eternity that enveloped my artistic psyche. My senses became one with the masterpiece – the colors, the composition, the flow, shapes, texture, expressions, form, movement and so much more. Each second of awareness of something extraordinary brought others that exploded like super-novae exponentially across the canvas and my mind.

I left the gallery a changed man and and artist.

So, I was quite pleased to learn of the purchase of The Milliners (Les Modistes) by the Saint Louis Art Museum – in particularly - for the following reasons

  1. This is the first Degas to join the museum’s collection
  2. The work had been in private hands since it was first sold after Degas’ death in 1917
  3. If I ever get to Saint Louis, I now know one place to put on my “must see” list.

Details of the major acquisition can be found here - Saint Louis Art Museum Acquires Important Painting by Edgar Degas

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