Cover image for Degas and the dance
Degas and the dance
DeVonyar, Jill.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Harry N. Abrams, in association with the American Federation of Arts, [2002]

Physical Description:
303 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 31 cm
General Note:
Published in conjunction with an exhibition held at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Oct. 20, 2002-Jan. 12, 2003 and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Feb. 12-May 11, 2003.


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6853.D33 A4 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize
N6853.D33 A4 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Among the supreme masterpieces of 19th-century art are Edgar Degas' dramatic, incisive and often brilliantly coloured pictures of the ballet. He has enormous popularity as the foremost artist of the dance - with more than half his vast body of paintings, pastels, drawings and sculptures devoted to the on- and off-stage activities of ballerinas - and this catalogue, accompanying an exhibition, illuminates the theme in its historical context.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Edgar Degas' fascination with the ballet is legendary. What is less well known, and what this beautifully illustrated volume shows so well, is that many of his works are the result of an intimate link with the Paris Opera. Kendall, an art historian and recognized authority on Degas, and DeVonyar, an independent curator and former dancer, have taken the myths that have grown up around Degas' paintings and career and attempted to replace them with factual sources for his work. Degas' personal knowledge of the dancers, understanding of the dance and its techniques, connection with both the old and new opera houses, and free access to rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, and other backstage areas are explored in detail in a successful effort to understand how he came to portray the ballet as intimately as he did. Books about Degas abound. What makes this one fresh and unique is its inclusion of early and little-known sketches, and focus on how and why Degas came to prefer depicting backstage reality rather than dance itself. Lauren Roberts

Library Journal Review

Obsessed by the dance world, Edgar Degas (1834-1917) sketched, painted, and sculpted dancers for nearly 50 years. This catalog, an irresistible combination of dance, art, and scholarship, accompanies an exhibition in Detroit (until January 2003) and Philadelphia (February 12-May 11) that is destined for surefire success. Beyond the gorgeous reproductions of 144 paintings, drawings, and sculptures, eight original and probing essays delve into the artist's working methods backstage sur la scne at the Paris Opra and the evolution of his prolific dance oeuvre. Written by curator and former dancer DeVonyar and noted Degas scholar Kendall, the text is detailed and illuminating. Historic photographs of dancers, rehearsals, ballet masters, theaters, sets, and costumes are used liberally to connect period dance culture to the art. Visually exciting and ambitious in scale and focus, this is an essential purchase for academics, museums, and most public libraries.-Russell T. Clement, Northwestern Univ. Lib., Evanston, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This catalog for a traveling exhibition by the same name is the first comprehensive study of Degas representations of ballet dancers, which make up a substantial portion of his oeuvre. Art historian and independent curator Kendall joins former ballet dancer DeVonyar, who lends a unique perspective to the project. The historical context for Degas's work was researched at the archives of the Paris Opera, home of the national ballet company. The authors conclude that the artist had a greater knowledge of the subtleties of the dance than was previously imagined. The images and text presented in the catalog examine a range of related topics, including predecessors and contemporaries who visualized the dance in painting and sculpture, Degas's personal acquaintance with ballerinas and the men who waited for them in the wings, and his knowledge of classroom training and ballet repertoire. Images from popular culture sources ranging from caricatures to architectural studies of performance spaces further enrich readers' understanding of how the ballet was viewed in Degas's lifetime. Kendall's writing is fluid and sure to capture and keep the interest of both novice and expert Degas aficionados. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through professionals. E. K. Menon Purdue University