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MADAME ED­MONDO MORBILLI, C1869

The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS - EDGAR DE­GAS

When it comes to Edgar De­gas, the poet and critic Paul Valery, who was ac­quainted with the artist in his later years, had much to say. “This was a man who could be a dandy,” Valery wrote, “whose man­ners, when he chose, were of the most nat­u­ral dis­tinc­tion, a man who spent his evenings in the wings at the opera, a fre­quent vis­i­tor in the pad­dock at Longchamp, an in­tensely acute ob­server of the hu­man form, a cruel con­nois­seur of all the shapes and at­ti­tudes of women, an ex­pert judge of the finest horses, the most in­tel­li­gent, the most de­mand­ing, the most mer­ci­less draughts­man in the world …”

It is the draughts­man rather than the dandy who is cel­e­brated in Christopher Lloyd’s book Edgar De­gas Draw­ings and Pas­tels, now is­sued in pa­per­back in time for the cen­te­nary of the artist’s death this month.

“He falls into that rare cat­e­gory of artists,” Lloyd writes in the very first para­graph, “of whom it can be said that every mark they make on pa­per is wor­thy of con­sid­er­a­tion.”

For ev­i­dence, just look at this pas­tel draw­ing of his sis­ter now held in a pri­vate col­lec­tion, a sym­phony of colour and line.

Taken from Edgar De­gas Draw­ings and Pas­tels, by Christopher Lloyd, pub­lished by Thames & Hud­son, £16.95.

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