Degas and the Nude
October 9, 2011 - February 5, 2012
The Impressionist master’s ravishing look at the female form. Degas explores the beauty of unguarded moments. The nude figure was critical to the art of Edgar Degas from the beginning of his career in the 1850s until the end of his working life, but the subject has never before been explored in a Museum exhibition. “Degas and the Nude,” co-organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, features paintings, pastels, drawings, prints, and sculpture, and calls attention to the evolution of the treatment of the nude from Degas’s early years, through his triumphant offerings from the 1880s and 1890s, to the last decades of his working career.
More than three years in the making, "Degas and the Nude" was conceived by George T. M. Shackelford, chair, Art of Europe and Arthur K. Solomon Curator of Modern Art at the MFA, who co-organized the exhibition with Xavier Rey, Curator of Paintings, Musée d’Orsay. "Our project explores how Degas exploited all of the body's expressive possibilities," says Shackelford. "It shows how his personal vision of the nude informed his notion of modernity, and how he abandoned the classical or historical form in favor of a figure seen in her own time and setting, whether engaged in shockingly carnal acts or just stepping out of an ordinary bath."
The multimedia guide for the exhibition includes video of pastel and printmaking techniques, plus perspectives from a figure model, a pastel artist, and others. With extensive commentary by curator George Shackelford, the guide is narrated by Amanda Palmer, singer/songwriter and formerly of The Dresden Dolls.