Tag Archives: degas



Degas’ work L’Absinthe was legitimately booed when it put on display in 1892.

I’m more fascinated at the reaction of the woman (Ellen Andree). She must’ve found out that yet another Impressionist painter features her drinking. (She’s also in Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, on display rn at the Phillips Collection.)

Girl, I hear you. I don’t need a reputation like that, either! It’s why I skipped out on the work happy hour last week–I’ve done enough drinking in public to last a lifetime.

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dance dance dance


This is actually less of a scene, and more a progression of my night after a long-winded happy hour.

Starting from the left:
1. I always appear super shy and generally leaning into a bar corner,
2. Yawn out of absolute boredom,
3. Choose to take some awkward dance moves out on the floor, and
4. Sit in confusion about where my wallet is. (It’s on the counter, next to the empty pint of Phish Food and gum wrappers from the back of my Uber.)

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degas dancers

Why do redheads get a bad rap when they look this good in tulle?!

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portrait of cassatt

Mary Cassatt often modeled for Edgar Degas. Though she kept this in her studio, she sold it later in her life without him knowing. I’m imagining Degas finding out and playing that “Last Christmas” on just straight repeat. Or like, ANY Taylor Swift song.

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steeple chase

degas horse

Edgar Degas painted Scene from the Steeplechase for a Salon exhibition in 1866. Mary Cassatt wanted to purchase the painting for her brother, but Degas kept the work in his studio, basically repainting every darn inch.

Well, Cassatt’s momma wasn’t happy about that. In a letter, she wrote:

“I doubt if he ever sells it—…it is one of those works which are sold after a man’s death & artists buy them not caring whether they are finished or not.”

DEAD ON, MOM. The painting was in his studio when he died in 1893. It’s now a part of the National Gallery in DC, thanks to Paul Mellon.

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hbd, degas

the dance class

Huffington Post made me feel TERRIBLE this morning when it mentioned Degas celebrated his 180th birthday and I didn’t even know about it. Well, I’m going to go ahead and pretend that turning 180 years old requires two days and therefore, I am RIGHT ON TIME.

Degas is well-known for his ballerina paintings and sculptures, but he wasn’t always the popular Impressionist at school. Critics often called his work “appalling ugliness.”

His response?

“Art critic! Is that a profession? When I think we are stupid enough, we painters, to solicit those people’s compliments and to put ourselves into their hands! What shame! Should we even accept that they talk about our work?”

Preach, Degas. I feel that way when girls stare. It’s a printed maxi, ladies, and I am OWNING IT.

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girl arranging her hair


There’s actually nothing better than an exposed collarbone. Nothing. Bonus points on her being a redhead (ignore what I said in my last post).

Degas had once asked, “What do women know about style?” to Cassatt, and this painting was her retaliation. Do you think Degas just said, “As I thought, NOTHING!”

No matter, Degas had this work in his studio. He then sold it to Louisine Haverney, a major suffragette who co-founded the National Women’s Party (she once tried to set an effigy of Woodrow Wilson on fire in front of the White House —  😯 😯 😯

The painting was then a part of the Chester Dale collection — ah yes, our 1960s Kevin McCallister — before joining the NGA collection.

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degas painting

According to this coloring book, you’re not really coloring like Degas until you color miserable people drinking absinthe. Your dreams of painting ballerinas are OVER, CHILDREN.

Degas’s L’Absinthe, 1876, oil on canvas, Musee d’Orsay, Paris.

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mary cassatt at the louvre

cassatt louvre

This work is currently on display at the Degas / Cassatt exhibition at the National Gallery (I’m giving it one of those “Must Go!” Fandango ratings).

He studied the heck out of Cassatt’s pose for a variety of prints and sketches.  Degas made 20 known versions, the second largest number of studies by the artist for a work.

Degas wrote, “Her slender…figure, neatly tailored, and her crisply furled umbrella all convey to us something of Mary Cassatt’s tense, energetic character.” In other words, 19th-century ice queen. Love it, Mary!

Henry P. McIlhenny owned and donated the sketch to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Andy Warhol once said McIlhenny was “the only person in Philadelphia with glamour.”

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girl in a blue armchair

I am on board with everything about this girl’s look. I hope Cassatt gave the same dissatisfied look to AMERICA when they rejected the work in 1878. No wonder she moved to Paris and never returned.

Degas once said, “They are all jealous of us, and wish to steal our art.” Uh, duh.

Come see this bored beauty at the National Gallery (thanks, Mellon family!)

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