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Impressionist painter Edgar Degas (1834–1917) is well known for his gauzy paintings of dancers, his motion-filled images of horses, and his striking portraits. But the artist also lived a fascinating life—from a privileged upbringing to family bankruptcy, from defending Paris alongside Manet during the Franco-Prussian War to feuding with the same artist over a portrait.

Getty Publications has recently published two biographical essays, both titled “Memories of Degas.” One is by the Irish writer and critic George Moore and the other by the Munich-born, London-based artist and critic Walter Sickert. Both Moore and Sickert were Degas’s contemporaries and write from personal experience with the artist. In this episode, Getty associate curator Emily Beeny discusses the life of Degas as it is revealed in these two essays.
Book cover for Memories of Degas featuring a self portrait of Degas. The artist wears a wide brimmed had and looks at the viewer.

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Memories of Degas publication

JAMES CUNO: Hello, I’m Jim Cuno, president of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Welcome to Art and Ideas, a podcast in which I speak to artists, conservators, authors, and scholars about their work.
EMILY BEENY: I think a huge part of the attraction of dancers is the question of gravity, the quest...

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This post is part of Art + Ideas, a podcast in which Getty president Jim Cuno talks with artists, writers, curators, and scholars about their work.
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