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Carnegie events feature impressionist exhibit

POSTED September 11, 2012 1:51 p.m.

A collection of paper works from the artist Edgar Degas is coming to the Carnegie Arts Center for an extended exhibit.

“Edgar Degas: The Private Impressionist, Works on Paper by the Artist and his Circle,” will be on view from Oct. 6, until Jan. 13, 2013. Featuring more than 100 works on paper, the exhibit includes drawings, prints, pastels, and photographs by Degas from his early days of making studies at the Louvre to late in his career. Also included in the exhibit are works on paper by artists in his circle such as Mary Cassatt, Paul Cézanne, Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

"It is a fascinating look at a great artist observing, contemplating, and rendering what he sees around him," said Rebecca Phillips Abbott, executive director of the Carnegie Arts Center.

All of the works in “Degas: The Private Impressionist” were drawn from the collection of Robert Flynn Johnson, curator emeritus of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The exhibit is co-curated by Johnson and Louise Siddons Ph.D., assistant professor and curator of collections at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.

Intimate and thought-provoking, the exhibit offers a personal glimpse of the artist at work, often using family and friends as subjects.

Degas was one of the founders of Impressionism and a key figure in the development of modernism. Yet he is often referred to as the "reluctant Impressionist" because he had fundamental differences with them and considered himself a realist. Degas didn’t adapt the color palette associated with Impressionism and didn’t focus solely on landscapes. On the other hand, his scenes of contemporary life, off-center and cropped compositions, and experiments with color are among the hallmarks of the Impressionist style. He also played a significant role in organizing the independent exhibiting society that came to be called the Impressionists. The first of their exhibitions was held in 1874 and Degas participated in all but one of their eight exhibitions.

The Carnegie is hosting several events tied to the Degas exhibit, starting with a lecture at 2 p.m. Sunday. California State University, Stanislaus Art Professor Hope Werness will talk about the changes in artistic style that occurred in France around 1870 with a coda about how Degas isn’t a “typical” Impressionist. The lecture is free.

Johnson will visit the exhibit for a free discussion focusing on his experiences collecting the artwork at 2 p.m. Oct. 14.

The Carnegie will explore Degas’ love of horses and racing with a free Family Friday event at 7 p.m. Oct. 19. Participants will have the opportunity to design their own jockey silks, learn to move like a horse, and meet and sketch a live horse.

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