Degas’ dancers have returned to grace D.C. with their presence at The Phillips Collection.
By Kate Faherty
Edgar Degas is most well known for his artistic obsession with dancers and the graceful movements of dancers. In his successful years as an artist, he created at least 1,500 works focused around dancers. An expansive exhibition in The Phillips Collection, Degas’s Dancers at the Barre: Point and Counterpoint, features 30 of his infamous impressionist creations.
All created between 1870 and 1900, the pieces are mostly focused on the offstage movements of dancers, stretching or practicing. One of The Phillips Collection’s most beloved oil paintings by Degas, Dancers at the Barre, is the focal piece of the exhibition. The museum founder purchased Dancers at the Barre in 1944 and has since purchased three more pieces by Degas. In 1928, Phillips acquired The Ballet Rehearsal by Degas. The Phillips Collection later gave the piece to the Art Gallery at the Phillips Collection’s founder’s alma mater, Yale University. Nearly 60 years later, The Phillips Collection will host the piece again for the duration of the Degas exhibition.
As in Dancers at the Barre, these works by Degas capture interest by means of the realistic and candid positions and emotions of the subjects in each piece of art. Although the exhibition is focused on the Phillip Collection’s permanent Degas pieces, the collection draws from galleries both domestic and international.
The exhibition at The Phillips Collection held a grand and graceful opening for the preview week for Degas’s Dancers at the Barre: Point and Counterpoint. Young ballerinas from the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C., were at the patrons preview opening night, bringing Degas’s artwork alive and to reality.
The exhibition will be on display to the public October 1 until January 8 at The Phillips Collection. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.