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Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)


Also known as:  De Gas, Hilaire Germain Edgar; de Gas, Hilaire Germain Edgar; De Gas, Hilaire-Germain-Edgar; Dega, Edgar; Degas, Edgar Germain Hilaire; Degas, Edgar Hilaire Germain; Degas, Hilaire Germain Edgar; Degas, Hilaire-Germain-Edgar; Edgar Germain Hilaire Degas; Gas, Hilaire Germain Edgar De; Hilarie Germain Edgar Degas

Birth Place: Paris (Ville de Paris department, île-de-France, France)

Born on the nineteenth of July 1834, Edgar Degas was originally named Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas. Born to a fairly wealthy family in Paris, France, he was originally destined for a degree in law until gaining acceptance to the Ecole des Beaux Arts in April of 1855. In drawing, he followed the style of his mentor Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, but he is best known for his role in establishing the "Impressionist" movement in artwork. This is ironic, as he did not favor the term, but preferred to be known as a "Realist".

Degas is best known for his painting and sculpture. A staunch Nationalist, he parted ways with his art during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 to volunteer for the National Guard. They found out his eyesight was defective,which bothered him for the rest of his life. He died in September of 1917, by which time he was nearly blind.

His famous works include "Scene of War in the Middle Ages", which was accepted for exhibition by the Salon de Paris. It gained little notice, and near that time he became acquainted with Claude Monet. The two artists had a friendly rivalry and in time came to join with other contemporary French Artists to form the Impressionists, who mounted eight exhibitions between 1874 and 1886, seven of which featured Degas's work prominently.

His nude portraits of women revealed misogynistic tendencies, and his antisemitism cost him many friends. He never married, and lived in isolation during the latter part of his life.

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