Docent Tour: "Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade"
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Edgar Degas, "The Millinery Shop", 1879–1886. Oil on canvas, 39 3/8 x 43 5/8 in. (100 x 110.7 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection, 1933.428
Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade features 60 Impressionist paintings and pastels, including key works by Degas—many never before exhibited in the United States—as well as those by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet, Mary Cassatt, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and 40 exquisite examples of period hats.
Best known for his depictions of Parisian dancers and laundresses, Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917) was enthralled with another aspect of life in the French capital—high-fashion hats and the women who created them. The artist, invariably well-dressed and behatted himself, “dared to go into ecstasies in front of the milliners’ shops,” Paul Gauguin wrote of his lifelong friend.
Degas’ fascination inspired a visually compelling and profoundly modern body of work that documents the lives of what one fashion writer of the day called “the aristocracy of the workwomen of Paris, the most elegant and distinguished.” Yet despite the importance of millinery within Degas’s oeuvre, there has been little discussion of its place in Impressionist iconography.
The exhibition will be the first to examine the height of the millinery trade in Paris, from around 1875 to 1914, as reflected in the work of the Impressionists. At this time there were around 1,000 milliners working in what was then considered the fashion capital of the world.
Free after special exhibition admission. This tour uses headsets and requires advance sign-up at Coat Check on the lower level of the museum the day of the tour. If you would like to book a private tour, please contact the Group Sales Office at 415.750.2620 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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