Edith Lynn Hornik-Beer: Walk through ‘Degas – A Passion For Perfection’ | SteamboatToday.com

Edith Lynn Hornik-Beer: Walk through ‘Degas – A Passion For Perfection’

Edith Lynn Hornik-Beer/For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Edgar Degas piece titled: "Four Ballet Dancers on Stage."

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – The current Edgar Degas exhibit, “Degas — A Passion For Perfection,” at the Denver Art Museum is a must-see exhibit.

No excuses. The snow is melting, and the trip can be easily done as a one-day, round trip.

What I have in general noted about the art exhibits at the Denver Art Museum is that you come away with more input than you had expected.

For example, the present Degas exhibit has, as expected, a few of his renowned art work of dancers displayed. But what I never knew is that Degas also studied and painted horses. The exhibition comments on the wall explain that Degas had an obsession with the repetition of subjects, one of which was horses — many shown in movement with their faces in a determined pose.

Degas liked to copy artists he admired such as Jean Baptistery-Camille Corona of whom Degas said, “He is still the strongest, he anticipated everything.”

The museum exhibits Jean Baptistery-Camille Corona’s 1828 painting of “Naples And The Castel Dell’Ovo,” which Degas in 1860 also painted. His choice of the scene is a more confined setting. Other artists he admired and copied are also displayed.

Degas was known for carrying a sketchbook/notebook with him where he notated whatever enticed him. The museum is displaying this treasure, page by page, electronically. Everyone, especially those studying art or painting, will be inspired.

Walking from piece to piece presented chronologically the viewer will note that Degas had a tremendous understanding of how a human being’s posture conveys emotions and attitudes, as can be observed in his art piece “Conversation,” showing a man leaning over a newspaper and a woman next to him looking down at the table or the one where a woman is combing her hair. As you walk by these and others, the positions of the subjects will not only look familiar, but will arouse your own emotions.

His historical paintings, for instance, scenes of war in the Middle Ages or in other aspects, “A Dead Fox In The Woods,” his charcoal landscapes, his sculptures in wax, posthumously caste in bronze, will make you aware that Degas was truly a diverse artist.

The show is available through May 20. For details and reservations, visit denverartmuseum.org.

Edith Lynn Hornik-Beer is a local author and journalist.

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