Sculptures by Edgar Degas: the body is moving, gentlemen!

Degas paintings, Degas drawings, Degas posters, but what about the sculptures? Only one of them was exhibited during the life of the artist, and, of course, it was a dancer, and a very unusual one. And what about the other figures? Three dozen extensive works can be found in the Hermitage, but the history of their origin raises many questions.“Edgar Degas. The figure in motion ”- the name of the exhibition in the General Staff Building of the Hermitage reflects the essence of the creator’s hobbies. "Catch" the moment and as if to reject frozen static - this is a challenge to skill! And sometimes the public. The indignation of visitors to the Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1881, where his work of plasticine and wax “Little Dancer of 14 years” was shown, caused not a pose, but ... an outfit. It would be better to be “nude” than a real fabric of the tutu and wig made of natural hair, and also a ribbon! Because of the squall of criticism, Degas did not exhibit the rest of the work, and did not even embody it in “eternal” materials. Nothing metal, just a shell of clay and wax on the framework of scrap materials. But everything is moving - horses, people ... Degas' favorite topics! Here is a dancer and a galloping horse (Degas was impressed by the freeze-frames of the famous series of photos by E. Maybridge “The Movement of Animals”), then a jockey, and this is an innovative ... bathroom! Here the viewer is in charge of the movement: for the first time in the history of the fine arts, Degas created sculpture, which you need to look at and only from above.... There were many experiments: when it became poorly impaired, Degas began to make mostly sculptures. But, as it is believed, during his lifetime the master made only three figures from gypsum. And after his death, the heirs got a hundred and fifty sculptures made of clay, plasticine and wax found in the workshop. And only half were in good condition. It was decided to transfer them to bronze, which was done in the 20s of the last century. Subsequently, the journey from the casts to ingots was undertaken many times: the initial limited circulation was replenished for various reasons and under different circumstances. That heir to the "bronzer" AO. Ebrara will take the opportunity to make a figure or two, then the owners of the “source code” will decide to make subsequent copies ... As a result, the value of the sculptures by Edgar Degas is different and depends on the origin of the work. "The first edition" was sold in museums (the Louvre!) And private collections, traveling through the owners.

For example, the bronze “Little Dancer 14 Years,” one of the 28 figures in this series, was sold at Sotheby's in 2009 in London for $ 19.2 million, and the previous owner bought it at the same auction in 2004. almost three times cheaper. Well, the sculptures that are on display at the beginning of 2014 at the Hermitage Museum (and a couple of years ago in Kiev, when a guard accidentally broke a glass cube of a shop window and dropped one of the sculptures) - and completely “replica”. But with a clear "copyright trace"! At the end of the 20th century, in the workshop in the south of Paris, they found plaster models made, according to the organizers of the exhibition, "from the original sculptures of Degas before transferring them to their owners."

It was in their image and likeness that the limited edition of the sculptures was cast. New work in the old way? The State Hermitage Museum even held a whole symposium in 2012 on these “unauthorized sculptures”, where heated discussions about replication, value and authorship flared up. As a result, now you can admire the subjects of dispute: the exhibition “Edgar Degas. The figure in motion ”, prepared by the State Hermitage Museum and the M. T. Abraham Foundation (Paris), is popular. Look at the sculptures, as if made by “careless strokes” (impressionism You probably know a lot about impressionism: you will call the names of leading artists, and you will easily find a hall in the museum where the water surface flickers and the same motif is written at different times of the day, and the scandal at the first exhibition will surely remember, and even Monet will distinguish Manet. So, it’s time to go to the next level: everything you still wanted to know about impressionism. Read more!), read Degas quotes. Well, maybe formally exhibited exhibits and not architectural antiques. " But even if these are just copies, they are certainly not fakes!“Only when the artist stops knowing what he is doing, is he able to create true values” - Edgar Degas.