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Edgar Degas and the Opera Exhibit

A new exhibit is opening this week that highlights the obsession impressionist painter Edgar Degas had with the Paris opera world. It is a joint effort between the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée de l’Orangerie, and the National Gallery of Art.  It is in part to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Paris Opera. The exhibit will include over 100 of the famous painter’s pieces.

Degas is well-known for his love of the ballet, but he also had a fascination with the opera. Much like the ballet, he enjoyed not only watching the performances but going backstage and capturing the life behind the curtain. Many of the subjects in his paintings were people who knew him personally from his time spent there. He explored his love for the arts with many different mediums, all being shown in this exhibit, including some of his sculptures, created later in his life when his eyesight began to fail.

The French opera expresses art through song, dance and musical instruments. Degas managed to capture each of these elements in his work. He reflected the layered complexity that comes together to provide the audience with a special experience. While many of his pieces focus on the dancers, it is clear that he has an admiration for the entire affect found at the opera.

You can read more about the exhibit on the museum website for the Musée d’Orsay or the National Gallery. If you are not able to see it in person, you can admire many of the pieces being shown in our own Edgar Degas Gallery. Perhaps you will find the perfect piece of Paris to bring into your own home.

Amanda Hadley

About the Author

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas, where she studied English literature and got a masters degree in library sciences. She enjoys reading, cooking and playing with her nephews. Her best friend is her little dog Brady.