Mary Cassatt at the Louvre: The Paintings Gallery

Mary Cassatt at the Louvre: The Paintings Gallery

1879-1880

Edgar Degas

(French, 1834-1917)

Etching, softground etching, aquatint, and drypoint

Support: Cream (3) heavy laid paper

Sheet: 36.3 x 26.6 cm (14 5/16 x 10 1/2 in.); Platemark: 30.2 x 12.6 cm (11 7/8 x 4 15/16 in.)

Gift of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1947.459

Catalogue raisonné: Reed & Shapiro 52

State: VII/XX (only known impression of this state)

Description

Degas and his friends Mary Cassatt and Camille Pissarro were all experimental printmakers who combined traditional printmaking techniques to create a black and white equivalent for the tonality and varied textures of paintings. They were all so involved in printmaking that in 1879–80 they planned to publish a journal, Le Jour et la nuit (Day and Night), that would contain original etchings. As a printmaker, Degas was ambivalent about when a plate was considered finished. What attracted him to printmaking was the variability. He thoroughly enjoyed reworking, retouching, and transforming plates, often progressing toward more subtle painterly effects.

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