Edgar Degas Biography for Kids
Edgar Degas Biography for Kids
Bon jour! This is the Edgar Degas biography for kids. I am Edgar Degas from France in the 1900s.
Yes, France in the 1900s, the time of the Impressionist Movement. The movement so named when a critic called our works “impressionism” because he thought our art works seemed more like sketches than finished paintings. The movement of “in plain air” or natural light. I suppose I am part of this movement but I differ from my colleagues in that I like classical themes and realism. Please call me a Realist!
I mostly taught myself to paint, and I studied in Italy for a while as a young man. I studied the Old Masters like Rembrandt, for copying is the best way to learn! At first, I wanted to be a history painter, and I painted scenes such as Alexander and Bucephalus – you know, of Alexander the Great and his magnificent horse whom he named Bucephalus.
I exhibited at the Salon – you know, the French art show – for the first time in 1865, showing my Scene of War in the Middle Ages.
But then I met Edouard Manet, and he influenced me to try painting a different way.
I spent time in New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States with my mother’s family, and you might recognize my painting from this time, A Cotton Office in New Orleans.
I became disgruntled with the Salon and joined the Impressionists in their exhibitions, even helping to organize most of the exhibitions. But I really had little in common with most of the Impressionists with all their “natural light” business. I like painting and using pastels…
and doing sculptures of dancers…
Other impressionists need natural life. I, artificial life. I do not prefer landscapes.
But I do like portraits.
If I’m going to be outside I like the horse races…
or a café.
But I prefer to attend concerts …
and the circus …
and the theater…
and ballet at least 3 times a week.
I mostly go alone, for the artist must live alone, and his private life must remain unknown. It seems to me that today if the artist wishes to be serious… he must once more sink himself in solitude. But, oh how I love to paint ballet dancers!
People call me the painter of dancing girls. It has never occurred to them that my chief interest in dancers lies in rendering movement and painting pretty clothes. There is always so much energy and movement, and the dresses …
and tutus are such a wonderful subject for a painter’s brush!
I never feel like I am quite done with my paintings, either. I could add a bow here…
or a pot there…
At least half of my paintings are of dancers, you know!
I suppose it helps that they sell well, which has helped me pay of my brother’s scandalous debt and do all right for myself. I would paint dancers all my life except that my eyesight is failing. I have had to start using pastels instead of paint, and now my eyesight is getting so bad, I may only do sculpture.
Well, I don’t want you to remember me for that. Instead, remember this: I am Edgar Degas, who lived from the late 1800s into early 1900s. I am known for French Impressionism, (though I’d prefer to be thought of as a Realist), my paintings of dancers, pastels, and sculptures. Au revoir! Goodbye!
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