Robin Urton: dimensional paintings on glass


Edgar Degas


The Star, 1878

Ballet Rehearsal, 1875


At the Ballet: Woman with a Fan 1883-5

View From the Loge


Degas is know primarily for his paintings and pastels of ballerinas. He created literally hundreds of images of this subject, but the artworks are just as much about movement, light and color as they are about the ballet. Though he captures the elegance of the dance, the figures are often in awkward poses, and are often cropped from the composition in unusual ways. This is his most innovative contribution. Instead of looking posed, he gives the scenes an element of spontaneity, a primary concern of all impressionists. Like the other impressionists, he is interested in light and changing atmosphere - but his is almost always the light of the stage or indoor lighting.


The Bath, 1885-6

The Tub, 1886

After the Bath, 1886

In addition to the ballet, Degas frequently drew and painted images of women caught in the moment of grooming or bathing themselves. Here, the viewer becomes aware of a very unusual vantage point, and one almost feels like you are glimpsing the woman while she is unaware of your gaze. Again, the model is a study of natural movement. Degas does not seem to be interested in self-conscious portraiture, but in the daily events of everyday life.

For Degas, everyday events also included going to the carnival or the opera, favorite activities of the Parisian middle-class. Here, again, we see his unusually cropped compositions and vantage points. This cropping was probably influenced by the advent of photography, which was just beginning to become popular.


Miss Lala at the Circus

Singer with a Glove, 1878

Another activity which was popular with the Parisan upper-middle class were the horse races. Naturally, Degas was there to record his impression of the events. Again, he chooses unusual moments (such as the jockey's fall) and oddly cropped compositions, bringing our attention to the random moment.

The Fallen Jockey

Jockeys In Front of the Grandstands, 1882-85


Mary Cassatt

Maternal Caress, 1890-91

The Bath, 1891

Horse Chesnut, 1895

Mary Cassatt was one of few women artists involved in the Impressionist group. An American, she was a friend of Edgar Degas, and was invited by him to exhibit with them in Paris. Her compositions are somewhat similar to those of Degas, in the way that she crops the space. The asymmetrical compositions are also strongly influenced by the work of Japanese printmakers. Cassatt mastered the mediums of oil painting, pastel, and printmaking (especially drypoint with aquatint). The subject which most frequently captured her attention was that of the tenderness expressed between mothers and children. Cassatt herself never married or had children. She was of the belief that she had to make a choice either for motherhood or her career. She chose art, but children and family life were obviously a preoccupation.

Mother and Child, 1880

The Boating Party, 1893


Other Impressionists

Pierre Bonnard, Cote d'Azur

Berthe Morisot



Alfred Sisley, The Seine at Bougival


Camille Pisarro, Haymakers at Rest

to Post-Impressionism