Paris via New York: Degas at MOMA

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Frequent contributor Betty Guernsey found the new Degas expo at MOMA even better than she had expected.

Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty” (March 23 – July 24) is the theme of a fascinating retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, based on a little-known and seldom-seen portion of his repertoire – the monotype.

MOMA has mounted an impressively substantial show of almost 200 of his works utilizing the technique, a once-off black ink printmaking process that can leave a “ghost” or more abstract version of the original, allowing the possibility of a second print.

Degas often re-worked and expanded upon his “ghosts” via oils, pastels, or fine-nib detailing. Here are his famous ballerinas, women bathers, washerwomen, and Parisians-about-town, rendered first in monochrome and then subtly in color.

As an exhibition perk, viewers are offered in-gallery magnifying glasses to examine more closely the intricacies many of the works entail.

Have you seen the show? We’d love to hear what you thought!

Musée d’Orsay Undergoes Renovation

The Impressionist wonder, Musée d’Orsay, has closed its top floors as part of a major renovation. The changes will bring improved lighting, increased security, and better visitor flow when Level 5 reopens in March, 2011.

Major museum holdings are still on display in specially redesigned rooms on the ground floor. Manet’s “Déjeuner sur l’Herbe” and “Olympia” remain at the d’Orsay, along with the large realist paintings of Courbet and the early works of Monet and Cézanne; Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works; and paintings by Ingres, Delacroix, Degas.

About 240 works will travel during the renovation. The De Young Museum in San Francisco will show Van Gogh’s “Bedroom at Arles,” Whistler’s Mother, and Manet’s “Fife Player” as part of its exhibit “Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces From the Musée d’Orsay,” May 22 – Sept. 6, 2010.

A second show at the De Young will focus on “Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Beyond: Post-Impressionist Masterpieces From the Musée d’Orsay,” Sept. 25, 2010 – Jan. 18, 2011.

The d’Orsay will continue to hold temporary expos, including an excellent temporary show, Art Nouveau Revival, which looks at the influence of Surrealism in France, psychedelic art in the US, and other art movements on Art Nouveau. Until Feb 4, 2010.