Royal Academy of Arts
17 September—11 December 2011
Edgar Degas, 'Dancer (Préparation en dedans)', c. 1880-85. Charcoal with stumping on buff paper, 336 x 227 mm. Trinity House. Image Trinity House, London and New York.
Highlights of the exhibition will include such masterpieces as the celebrated sculpture Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (1880-81, cast. c.1922, Tate, London), which will be displayed with a group of outstanding preparatory drawings that together show the artist tracking around his subject like a cinematic eye; Dancer Posing for a Photograph (1875, Pushkin State Museum of Art, Moscow); Dancer on Pointe (c. 1877-78, Private collection); The Dance Lesson (c. 1879, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC); Dancers in a Rehearsal Room with a Double Bass (c. 1882-85, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York); and Three Dancers (c. 1903, Beyeler Foundation, Basel).
The exhibition will explore the fascinating links between Degas’s highly original way of viewing and recording the dance and the inventive experiments being made at the same time in photography by Jules-Etienne Marey and Eadweard Muybridge and in film-making by such pioneers as the Lumière brothers. By presenting the artist in this context, the exhibition will demonstrate that Degas was far more than merely the creator of beautiful images of the ballet, but instead a modern, radical artist who thought profoundly about visual problems and was fully attuned to the technological developments of his time.”
Edweard Muybridge, 'Woman dancing (Fancy)', plate 187 of Animal Locomotion, 1884-86. Collotype on white wove paper, 18.4 x 41.7 cm. Royal Academy of Arts, London. Image © Royal Academy of Arts London / Prudence Cuming.
Edgar Degas, 'Dancer Adjusting her Shoulder Strap', c. 1895-6. Modern print from gelatin dry plate negative. 180 x 130 mm. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris. Image © Bibliothèque Nationale de France.