Edgar Degas biography:
Edgar Degas first studied law, but soon abandoned his studies to pursue a career as an artist. From 1853 onwards he took lessons from Louis Lamothe, one of Ingres’ students. He briefly attended the École des Beaux-Art, but then decided to continue his artistic training on his own. He copied ancient reliefs and the old masters in the museums of Paris. In 1856 Degas took a study trip to Italy. Upon his return to Paris three years later, he worked primarily as a portrait painter and created several history paintings before consecrate to contemporary Parisian life as his preferred subject matter. Degas rejected plein air painting, instead he worked in his studio with models or from drawings. His models were mainly women, often from lower social classes. In addition, he also depicted social scenes on the racecourse, at the museum or the theater. But Degas’ most popular theme were the ballet dancers. His oeuvre is defined by drawings and pastels, but he also created sculptures and developed an interest in photography in the 1890s. Thanks to the support of his gallerist Paul Durand-Ruel, his works found appreciation amongst collectors early on. The most important collections of works by Edgar Degas are nowadays held in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.