A DEGAS FOR TODAY

Degas' work is an odd combination of academic and Impressionist
strategies.  His draftsmanship tended to be rigorous, almost
photorealistic — he often worked from photographs — and he shared the
academic's preoccupation with the dramatic, expressive possibilities of
space.  At the same time his surfaces shimmered with a life of
their own, in the Impressionist way, creating a powerful counter
tension.

The image above is very unusual.  The design offers a bold
recession of spaces, in three dramatic stages, while the treatment of
the surface flattens it all out again, as in a Japanese print, also a
strong influence on Degas' style.

I can never feel comfortable calling Degas an Impressionist, but he wasn't an academic, either.  He was just Degas.

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