Edgar Degas (French, born July 19, 1834–died September 27, 1917) is renowned as a major Impressionist artist, celebrated for his depictions of Parisian urban life and his investigations of color, light, and composition in several media, such as painting, sculpture, and pastels. Degas was born Hiliare-Germain-Edgar Degas in Paris, and first studied law before pursuing art at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1855. In the 1870s, he joined the circle of Impressionist artists known for their animated, expressionistic brushstrokes and explorations of the temporal effects of light and color in painting. In addition to painting scenes of leisure activity and high society, Degas often depicted the poor and marginalized in Parisian contemporary life, including images of prostitutes, laborers, laundresses, and young dancers. He frequently experimented with depicting movement, light, and the pictorial composition in new ways, often portraying his subjects at odd angles or abruptly cropping his scenes.

Beginning in the mid-1880s, his eyesight began to fail, and he increasingly used pastel to create blurred edges and softer forms, used in several of his famous series of ballet dancers and female bathers. In the last decade of his life, Degas’s eyesight suffered to the point that he could no longer produce any work after 1912. Degas’s work received increasing critical praise toward the end of his life, and he is now considered one of the boldest and most innovative of his Impressionist contemporaries.

Degas died in Paris in 1917, at 83 years old. His works are in the collections of prominent institutions around the world, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the National Gallery and the British Museum in London, the Kunstmuseum Basel, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel.


Born Hilaire Germain Edgar de Gas in Paris, France, on July 19
Studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France
Lived in Rome
Completed a few history paintings, including Daughter of Jephthah
Painted portraits of his family and friends
Served in the artillery during the Franco-Prussian War
Stopped exhibiting at the Salon
Died in Paris, France, on September 27


Edgar Degas, The Private Impressionist, Works on Paper by the Artist and his Circle, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL, USA; Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, CA; Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME (solo exhibition)
Degas: master of French art, The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia (solo exhibition)
Edgar Degas. Intimity and Pose, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany (solo exhibition)
Degas in Bronze: The Complete Sculptures, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL, USA (solo exhibition)
Edgar Degas: The Last Landscapes, The Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH, USA (solo exhibition)
Degas at the Getty, The Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA (solo exhibition)
Degas at Harvard, The Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, MA, USA (solo exhibition)
Degas Sculptures, Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA, USA; The Boise Art Museum, Boise, ID (solo exhibition)
Degas and the Italians in Paris, Edinburgh's Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, Scotland (solo exhibition)
Art in the Making: Degas, The National Gallery, London, UK (solo exhibition)
All 73 sculptures by Edgar Degas, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ (solo exhibition)
Degas and the Dance, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, USA (solo exhibition)
Degas Pastel Society: Eighth Biennial National Exhibition, Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Laurel, MS, USA (solo exhibition)
Degas: Beyond Impressionism, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; The National Gallery, London, UK (solo exhibition)
Degas and the Dance, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA, USA (solo exhibition)
Impressionism: A Centenary Exhibition, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA
Edgar Degas Sculpture, Ferargil Gallery, New York, NY, USA (solo exhibition)
Exhibition of Bronzes by Degas, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, France (solo exhibition)
Grafton Galleries, London, UK
Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, France (solo exhibition)
Works in Oil and Pastel by the Impressionists of Paris, The American Art Galleries; The National Academy of Design, New York, NY, USA
8me Exposition de Peinture, 1 rue Laffitte, Paris, France
6me Exposition de Peinture, 35 boulevard des Capucines, Paris, France
5me Exposition de Peinture, 10 rue des Pyramides, Paris, France
4me Exposition de Peinture, 28 avenue de l'Opéra, Paris, France
3me Exposition de Peinture, 6 rue Le Peletier, Paris, France
Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, France
Société Anonyme des Artistes, Paris, France
The Salon, Paris, France
The Salon, Paris, France
The Salon, Paris, France
The Salon, Paris, France
The Salon, Paris, France
The Salon, Paris, France

Public Collections

The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
National Gallery, London, UK
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Frick Collection, New York, NY
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, France
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY


Callen, Anthea. The Spectacular Body: Science, Method and Meaning in the Work of Degas. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995
Kendall, Richard and Griselda Pollock, eds. Dealing with Degas. London: Pandora, 1992
Thomson, Richard. Degas: The Nudes. London: Thames & Hudson, 1988
Lipton, Eunice. Looking into Degas: Uneasy Images of Women and Modern Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987
McMullen, Roy. Degas: His Life, Times, and Work. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984