Author(s): Keith Roberts
Despite the popularity of his work, Edouard Degas has remained one of the most elusive of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. To his contemporaries he was always a very private man, rather aloof, self-absorbed and inclined to cynicism. However, few could fault his skill as an artist, and his acute vision, mastery of design, and meticulous attention to often ignored detail single him out as one of the most important figures in nineteenth century art history. The ballet, the racecourse and women at their toilet were his three favourite subjects and he returned to them again and again in the course of his long career, never feeling that he had exhausted these themes. Degas never forgot his early meeting with Ingres, the greatest upholder of the classical tradition, and from his early academic sketches to his late pastels the quality of his drawing never faltered. Keith Roberts' highly successful introduction to Degas was first published in 1976. Helen Langdon, a lecturer at the National Gallery, added the notes to the plates and numerous black-and-white comparative illustrations, and the whole book is here reissued in an attractive new design.
Keith Roberts used to be an assistant editor at the Burlington Magazine.