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Manet, Degas: life, characters and styles...

From September 24, 2023 to January 7, 2024, it is the turn of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to host the exceptional exhibition on Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas, these two giants of 19th century pictorial art. This exhibition is being organized in partnership with the Musée de l'Orangerie and the Musée d'Orsay, where it has recently attracted a very large audience.

Through more than 150 paintings and works on paper, Manet/Degas takes a new look at the interactions of these two artists in the context of the family, friendly and intellectual relationships that influenced their artistic and professional choices, deepening our understanding of a key moment in 19th century French painting.

Edgar Degas. Hortense Valpinçon enfant. 1871. Minneapolis Institute of Art
Edgar Degas. Hortense Valpinçon enfant. 1871. Minneapolis Institute of Art

Bringing together artists as crucial as Édouard Manet (1832-1883) and Edgar Degas (1834-1017) cannot be confined to identifying the similarities offered by their respective works. Among these essential actors of the new painting of the years 1860-80, the analogies are not lacking. From horse racing to café scenes, from prostitution to the intimacy of the toilet, they were the constant promoters of a realism that they opened up to other aesthetic, formal and narrative potentialities.

Édouard Manet. Sur la plage. 1873. © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
Édouard Manet. Sur la plage. 1873. © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt

Their divergent choices in terms of exposure and career cooled, from 1873-1874, the budding friendship that bound them, a friendship reinforced by their common experience of the war of 1870 and the aftermath of the Commune. Similarly, one cannot compare the former's quest for recognition and the latter's stubborn refusal to use the official channels of legitimization, like Claude Monet. And if we consider the private sphere, once the years of youth are over, everything separates them. To Manet's sociability, very open, chic and brilliant, to his domestic choices, respond the secret existence of Degas and his restricted circle of friends.

Édouard Manet et Edgar Degas


In "Degas Danse Dessin", where there is also a lot of talk about Manet, Paul Valéry talks about these "wonderful coexistences" which border on dissonant chords. Because it brings together Manet and Degas in the light of their contrasts, and shows how much they define themselves by distinguishing themselves, this exhibition, rich in masterpieces never before brought together and an unprecedented partnership, forces us to bring a new a look at the short-lived complicity and enduring rivalry of two giants.


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New York, NY 10028


In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century...




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