A Cotton Office in New Orleans Edgar Degas Paintings For Sale
A Cotton Office in New Orleans Meaning
A Cotton Office in New Orleans is an oil painting by Edgar Degas and one of the most important famous paintings of 19th-century capitalism. At the beginning of his career, Degas wanted to be a history painter, a calling for which he was well prepared by his rigorous academic training and close study of classical art. In his early thirties, he changed course, and by bringing the traditional methods of a history painter to bear on the contemporary subject matter, he became a classical painter of modern life and fine art. The 1873 painting A Cotton Office in New Orleans was the first one by Degas to be purchased by a Museum. This painting portrays his uncle’s cotton brokerage business before it went bankrupt during an economic crash. Edgar Degas traveled from Europe to New Orleans in late 1872 with his brother, René, to visit his mother's brother, Michael Musson. After the American Civil War, René joined his uncle's cotton business in New Orleans. While Degas decided to travel back to Europe in January 1873 but his trip was delayed. Edgar Degas, therefore, decided to paint A Cotton Office in New Orleans with the intention of selling it later to a British textile manufacturer as fine art. The hope of selling the artwork was ended after there was a decline in fine arts and cotton market. Later on in 1873, in the 2nd Impressionist show in Paris, he exhibited the famous painting and then sold it in 1878 to the Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux-Arts in French) in Pau, France.
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Degas in New Orleans
The Musson home, where Degas stayed during his visit to the city, is the only residence or studio in the world associated with the artist that is open to the public. It is both a bed and breakfast and the home of the Edgar Degas Foundation, dedicated to preserving his legacy. The house was constructed in 1852; period furnishings are displayed and reproductions of Degas' paintings fill the walls. Guided tours are conducted by appointment. The house has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Edgar Degas Biography
Edgar Degas was born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar de Gas on July 19, 1834, in Paris, France. His father, Auguste, was a banker, and his mother, Celestine, was an American from New Orleans. Their family were members of the middle class with nobler pretensions. For many years, the Degas family spelled their name "de Gas"; the preposition "de" suggesting a land-owning aristocratic background which they did not actually have.
As an adult, Edgar Degas reverted back to the original spelling. Degas came from a very musical household; his mother was an amateur opera singer and his father occasionally arranged for musicians to give recitals in their home. Degas attended the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, a prestigious and rigorous boys' secondary school, where he received a classical education.
Degas also displayed a remarkable skill for drawing and painting as a child, a talent encouraged by his father, who was a knowledgeable art lover. In 1853, at the age of 18, he received permission to "copy" at the Louvre in Paris. (During the 19th century, aspiring artists developed their technique by attempting to replicate the works of the masters.) He produced several impressive copies of Raphael as well, studying the work of more contemporary painters such as Ingres and Delacroix.
Edgar Degas Realism And Impressionism
Degas’s transition to modern subject matter, evident in Scene from the Steeplechase, was a long and gradual one, not an overnight conversion. Before he left Italy, he had made drawings of street characters and paintings of fashionable horse-riders, but always on a small scale. In Paris in the early 1860s, his pictures of French racing events broke new ground both for their decidedly contemporary subject matter and for their surprising viewpoints and bold colours, which preceded the canvases of similar scenes by his renowned contemporary Édouard Manet. Degas’s portraits, too, at this time became less remote and more actively engaged with the top-hatted, restless world in which he lived. When he met Manet about 1862, Degas developed an affectionate but pointed rivalry with the slightly older man and soon shared something of Manet’s oppositional stance toward the artistic establishment and its traditional subject matter. Degas’s notebooks from these years teem with contrary possibilities for the direction of his art, as sketches of the countryside follow glimpses of theatrical performances, and studies from objects in the Louvre are interspersed among topical caricatures. After mid-decade he abandoned historical themes, sending a portrait of a current ballet star at the Paris Opéra, Eugénie Fiocre, to the Salon of 1868; he would soon reject such official exhibitions altogether.
The Degas House Story
Degas House is the only home of Degas anywhere in the world that is open to the public. The house is a museum and hosts guided tours, bed and breakfast guests, special events, and wedding ceremonies and receptions. It is also the home of the Edgar Degas Foundation which seeks to preserve the legacy of Degas in New Orleans and provide education and cultural programming.
Edgar Degas Style
Degas is often identified as an Impressionist, an understandable but insufficient description. Impressionism originated in the 1860s and 1870s and grew, in part, from the realism of such painters as Courbet and Corot. The Impressionists painted the realities of the world around them using bright, "dazzling" colors, concentrating primarily on the effects of light, and hoping to infuse their scenes with immediacy.
Technically, Degas differs from the Impressionists in that, as art historian Frederick Hartt says, he "never adopted the Impressionist color fleck", and he continually belittled their practice of painting en plein air. "He was often as anti-impressionist as the critics who reviewed the shows", according to art historian Carol Armstrong; as Degas himself explained, "no art was ever less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and of the study of the great masters; of inspiration, spontaneity, temperament, I know nothing." Nonetheless, he is described more accurately as an Impressionist than as a member of any other movement. His scenes of Parisian life, his off-center compositions, his experiments with color and form, and his friendship with several key Impressionist artists, most notably Mary Cassatt and Edouard Manet, all relate him intimately to the Impressionist movement.
Degas has his own distinct style, one reflecting his deep respect for the old masters and his great admiration for Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and Eugène Delacroix. He was also a collector of Japanese prints, whose compositional principles influenced his work, as did the vigorous realism of popular illustrators such as Daumier and Gavarni. Although famous for horses and dancers, Degas began with conventional historical paintings such as The Young Spartans, although his treatment of such subjects became progressively less idealized. During his early career, Degas also painted portraits of individuals and groups; an example of the latter is The Bellelli Family of (c.1858–60), a brilliantly composed and psychologically poignant portrayal of his aunt, her husband, and their children. In this painting, as in The Young Spartans and many later works, Degas was drawn to the tensions present between men and women. In his early paintings, Degas already evidenced the mature style that he would later develop more fully by cropping subjects awkwardly and by choosing unusual viewpoints.
By the late 1860s, Degas had shifted from his initial forays into history painting to an original observation of contemporary life. Racecourse scenes provided an opportunity to depict horses and their riders in a modern context. He began to paint women at work, milliners and laundresses. Mlle. Fiocre in the Ballet La Source, exhibited in the Salon of 1868, was his first major work to introduce a subject with which he would become especially identified, dancers.
In many subsequent paintings dancers were shown backstage or in rehearsal, emphasizing their status as professionals doing a job. Degas began to paint café life as well. He urged other artists to paint "real life" instead of traditional mythological or historical paintings, and the few literary scenes he painted were modern and of highly ambiguous content. For example, Interior (which has also been called The Rape) has presented a conundrum to art historians in search of a literary source; internal evidence suggests that it may be based on a scene from Thérèse Raquin. As his subject matter changed, so, too, did Degas' technique. The dark palette that bore the influence of Dutch painting gave way to the use of vivid colors and bold brushstrokes. Paintings such as Place de la Concorde read as "snapshots," freezing moments of time to portray them accurately, imparting a sense of movement. The changes to his palette, brushwork, and sense of composition all evidence the influence that both the Impressionist movement and modern photography, with its spontaneous images and off-kilter angles, had on his work.
Blurring the distinction between portraiture and genre pieces, he painted his bassoonist friend, Désiré Dihau, in The Orchestra of the Opera (1868-69) as one of fourteen musicians in an orchestra pit, viewed as though by a member of the audience. Above the musicians can be seen only the legs and tutus of the dancers onstage, their figures cropped by the edge of the painting. Art historian Charles Stuckey has pointed out that the viewpoint is that of a distracted spectator at a ballet, and that "it is Degas' fascination with the depiction of movement, including the movement of a spectator's eyes as during a random glance, that is properly speaking 'Impressionist'." Degas' mature style is distinguished by conspicuously unfinished passages, even in otherwise tightly rendered paintings. He frequently blamed his eye troubles for his inability to finish, an explanation that met with some skepticism from colleagues and collectors who reasoned, as Stuckey explains, that "his pictures could hardly have been executed by anyone with inadequate vision." The artist provided another clue when he described his predilection "to begin a hundred things and not finish one of them," and was in any case notoriously reluctant to consider a painting complete.
His interest in portraiture led him to study carefully the ways in which a person's social stature or form of employment may be revealed by their physiognomy, posture, dress, and other attributes. In his 1879 Portraits, At the Stock Exchange, he portrayed a group of Jewish businessmen with a hint of antisemitism; while in his paintings of dancers and laundresses, he reveals their occupations not only by their dress and activities but also by their body type. His ballerinas exhibit an athletic physicality, while his laundresses are heavy and solid. By the later 1870s, Degas had mastered not only the traditional medium of oil on canvas but pastel as well. The dry medium, which he applied in complex layers and textures, enabled him more easily to reconcile his facility for line with a growing interest in expressive color.
In the mid-1870s he also returned to the medium of etching, which he had neglected for ten years, and began experimenting with less traditional printmaking media—lithographs and experimental monotypes. He was especially fascinated by the effects produced by monotype, and frequently reworked the printed images with pastel. These changes in media engendered the paintings that Degas would produce in later life. Degas began to draw and paint women drying themselves with towels, combing their hair, and bathing. The strokes that model the form are scribbled more freely than before; backgrounds are simplified.
The meticulous naturalism of his youth gave way to an increasing abstraction of form. Except for his characteristically brilliant draftsmanship and obsession with the figure, the pictures created in this late period of his life bear little superficial resemblance to his early paintings. Ironically, it is these paintings, created late in his life, and after the heyday of the Impressionist movement, that most obviously use the coloristic techniques of Impressionism. For all the stylistic evolution, certain features of Degas's work remained the same throughout his life. He always painted indoors, preferring to work in his studio, either from memory or using models. The figure remained his primary subject; his few landscapes were produced from memory or imagination. It was not unusual for him to repeat a subject many times, varying the composition or treatment. He was a deliberative artist whose works, as Andrew Forge has written, "were prepared, calculated, practiced, developed in stages. They were made up of parts. The adjustment of each part to the whole, their linear arrangement, was the occasion for infinite reflection and experiment."
The perfect accent for any space! Each wood print is unique due to the natural qualities of each individual panel of wood.
• Wood canvas made from Birchwood sourced from sustainable Canadian forests
• UV set inks, meaning the print resists water
• Each wood print is made in Montreal, Canada
• Easy care, don’t touch the print if you don’t have to, but you can wipe it with a dry or damp cloth to remove dust
• Arrives ready to hang! 4-panel frame in back allows you to just pop the wood print on a small nail in the wall, no wires necessary
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