Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"The artist must live apart. His private life should be unknown." Degas

Jockeys in Front of the Grandstand. (1869-72)
Imagine if People or Us had been on the scene 150 years ago: Degas puts coal in the stove! He stops in a cafe for coffee! He goes to the racetrack!

Since these fine periodicals were not publishing in the 1860's, the next best way to learn why Degas would never have appeared on The Bachelor is to read The Private Lives of the Impressionists by Sue Roe.

Here's the info according to Roe:

He always stated that he had no desire to marry. 'What would I want a wife for? Imagine having someone around who at the end of a grueling day in the studio said, "that's a nice painting, dear." The glamorous, bejewelled women with bare shoulders and plunging necklines, hauled by their husbands from salon to
opera box then on to some glittering dinner party, dismayed him.

He felt a particular horror for the necks and shoulders of women past their prime. Seated next to one such lady at dinner one evening, he told his friends she had been practically naked, he could not take his eyes off her. Suddenly turning towards him, she had asked, 'Are you staring at me?' 'Good Lord, Madame', he replied, 'I wi
sh I had the choice.'

Degas did spend time with his contemporaries, but preferred to spend the better part of the day working alone in his studio.

Despite having a husband and 3 kids, somehow over the years, I have practically become a hermit. Doesn't work for everyone - some artists I've talked to get a lot of energy from their interactions with friends and co-workers. How important is solitary time to you? Can you have too much of it?

Here's Apres le bain, femme d'essayant la nuque.

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