This winter, the Portland Museum of Art
will present the exhibition Edgar Degas: The Private Impressionist, on view February 23 through May 27, 2012, which will feature compelling works from a private collection that have never been exhibited together publicly. Comprised of more than 100 drawings, prints, pastels, and photographs as well as several sculptures, Edgar Degas: The Private Impressionist will provide an insightful exploration into the oeuvre of one of the most skilled and complex artists in history, and grant an unprecedented opportunity to view an impressive private collection formed during the course of 40 years.
The exhibition will highlight an array of works that reflect Degas unique Impressionist style. The works demonstrate Degas ability to combine his profound appreciation for the Old Masters with his passion for photography, Japanese prints, and his singular through-the-keyhole approach. Featuring striking images of ballet dancers behind-the-scenes at the Paris Opéra and women dressing in their boudoirs, Degas captured the private side of Paris. Intimate drawings and prints of his family and friends, including tender depictions of his father, his brother Achille, an Italian niece, his loyal housekeeper Sabine Neyt, and artists Edouard Manet and Mary Cassatt reveal the private world of Degas.
In addition to masterworks by Degas, the exhibition will also include a select group of 17 rare works on paper by artists in his circle, including captivating works by such modern masters as Giovanni Boldini, Paul Cézanne, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, among others.
To add even greater depth to the exhibition, generous loans to the Portland Museum of Art from major benefactors Scott M. Black and Les Otten will be part of the show. These works, among others, include Degas Portrait of Alexis Rouart (1895) and Degas sculpture Fourth position in front on the left leg (1882-1895). Moreover, works of art by artists in his circle from the Museums permanent collection will be interspersed throughout the exhibition, providing new contexts for the Museums European holdings. Paintings and drawings by Jane Sutherland, a contemporary New England artist greatly inspired by Degas, will add yet another dimension to the exhibition.
The exhibition is co-curated by Robert Flynn Johnson, Curator Emeritus, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, along with Louise Siddons, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Art History and Curator at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma. Margaret Burgess, The Susan Donnell and Harry W. Konkel Associate Curator of European Art, is the curator for the exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art. A full-color, fully illustrated catalogue of the exhibition will be published featuring a preface by Ann Dumas, Curator of The Royal Academy, London and a foreword by Robert Flynn Johnson.
The exhibition is organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, California, in association with Denenberg Fine Arts, West Hollywood, California. The exhibition will premiere at the Naples Museum of Art, Naples, Florida, in October 2011.