French artist Hilaire Germaine Edgar Degas (1834–1917) is best known for his studies of the human figure, his ballet dancers, his portraits, and his occupational groups. In his drawings, Degas’s working methods can be seen and studied, and his always-human figures can be enjoyed as much as in the finished works — if not more.
Reproduced in this book are 100 of Degas’s drawings, including eight in full color. They range from early studies to portraits of Manet, Madame Hertel, Madame Camus, Durnaty, and others to sketches of dancers and nudes, race track scenes, travel scenes, and other works from 1856 to 1900. The drawings reflect Degas’s outstanding way of capturing scenes and his development of the careful casualness that was to make him foremost among the Realist-Romantic artists. The images also reveal his new uses of space and artistic focus, qualities he received from other artists in the Impressionist group. There are works in varied media — pencil, crayon, pastel, charcoal, and many others — and there are studies for paintings and sculptures that show his working methods.
Most of these drawings cannot be seen anywhere else in published form. The edition from which these drawings were taken now commands high prices on the rare book market, when it can be found. Art students, collectors, and others who want to see the many styles of Degas will find that this collection contains many of his finest works.