Chanteuse de Café, c. 1878
Details     Description
Artist EDGAR DEGAS Long before the invention of motion pictures Degas anticipated the close-up. Strolling along he Champs Elysees he dropped into the open-air night clubs where popular singers bawled out their vulgarities and was enchanted by what he saw. Unlike his ballet dancers, these entertainers are rendered with a sharp, satirical eye. He would do a whole series of them, eliminating more and more detail to summarise a moment and fix an unforgettable vision of footlights reflected on a rouged and powdered face.
He has represented this dinger in a moment of intense action, with her mouth open in song, one black-gloved arm flung up for emphasis. The placing of model in the frame is brilliantly studied so that the eye unconsciously completes the rest of the figure. The detail of the black glove was to haunt Toulouse-Lautrec, who adapted it to his many studies of the French singer Yvette Guilbert.
Date 1878
Institution Harvard University Art Museums, Massachusetts
Medium Pastel on canvas
Dimensions 52.9 x 41.1 cm














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