Impressionism & Degas

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Impressionist displayed their work in independent shows from 1874-1886. Their desire to create an open forum for artist to show their work, united them as a group. The term impressionist was brought about by the critic Louis Leroy, after screening paintings in the first Impressionist exhibition in April of 1874. He as well as the entire French public, did not consider the works of Edgar Degas as art that valued serious attention. Degas was best known as an Impressionist and was a notorious member, if not the strongest supporter of the group. He was outspoken about the need for artist to join together and establish a place for themselves as promoters of a new, existing artistic awareness. Degas planned what is known as the first Impressionist exhibition and planned many of the following shows. He originally called himself a compatriots “realists”, which pointed to their interest in drawing inspiration from their own environments and experiences. The term Impressionist was later adopted later around the time of the third Impressionist exhibition, despite Degas’s disapproval to the name. Degas’s images of ballet dancers and women bathing and his experimental and vivid use of color would seem to encourage the use of the label “Impressionist.” Degas work stands apart from such artists as Claude Monet, Pierre- Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro. He observed laundresses, milliners, and ballet dancers at work and employed unusual perspectives and complex formal structures. Degas often worked from memory, sketching from models who posed in his studio. Although Degas did paint some landscapes, he chose to instead study the gestures and poses of the human figures in interior settings. His work resembles the work of Edouard Manet “ considered a realist by art historians rather that Impressionist). Degas portraits share an interest in the difficulty of human expressions
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