Skip to Main Content
Tags for: Edgar Degas: The Artist’s Process and the Question of Finish
  • Lecture
woman doing laundry

Woman Ironing (detail), begun c. 1876, completed c. 1887. Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917). Oil on canvas; 99 x 82.5 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, 1972.74.1

Edgar Degas: The Artist’s Process and the Question of Finish

Wednesday, November 29, 2023, 6:00 p.m.
Location: Gartner Auditorium

About The Event

Free; ticket required

Edgar Degas was a particularly experimental 19th-century artist. Close technical study of his paintings, graphic work, and sculptures reveals his eccentric choice of materials and unconventional manipulation of media. Degas was known to rework his pictures, often decades after initially considering them finished, and often approached his artworks as if they were works in progress. Frequently, he left clues on the surface to expose these changes, but on occasion only with technical imaging can the embedded layers be deciphered. This lecture explores these aspects of his paintings and delves into his process, his use of materials, and the complicated issue of finish.

A conservator of paintings at the National Gallery for more than 40 years, Ann Hoenigswald focuses on the treatment and technical studies of 19th- and early 20th-century paintings, with a particular interest in artists’ process, intended surfaces, and the issue of finish. Her research and publications are often in collaboration with curators and academic art historians. She is currently an invited Museum Scholar at the Getty Research Institute working on Degas.

This lecture is held in conjunction with the exhibition Degas and the Laundress: Women, Work, and Impressionism.

All education programs at the Cleveland Museum of Art are underwritten by the CMA Fund for Education. Major annual support is provided by Brenda and Marshall Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Walter E. Fortney, Florence Kahane Goodman, Eva and Rudolf Linnebach, and the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation. Generous annual support is provided by an anonymous supporter, the M. E. and F. J. Callahan Foundation, Char and Chuck Fowler, the Giant Eagle Foundation, the Lloyd D. Hunter Memorial Fund, Marta Jack and the late Donald M. Jack Jr., Bill and Joyce Litzler, the Logsdon Family Fund for Education, William J. and Katherine T. O'Neill, Mandi Rickelman, Betty T. and David M. Schneider, the Sally and Larry Sears Fund for Education Endowment, Roy Smith, Paula and Eugene Stevens, the Trilling Family Foundation, and the Womens Council of the Cleveland Museum of Art. 

    The Cleveland Museum of Art is funded in part by residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

    Education programs are supported in part by the Ohio Arts Council, which receives support from the State of Ohio and the National Endowment for the Arts.