Arts Everyday Living: Shopping with the Impressionists, Degas—A Hat for a Lady

And another blog I wrote in June 2013, relating to a special exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art about the Impressionists and the art of fashion.



…Think of a treatise on ornament for women by women, based on their manner of observing, of combining, of selecting their fashionable outfits and all things. On a daily basis they compare more than men, a thousand visible things with one another.

Edgar Degas*




Edgar Degas, The Millinery Shop, 1879/86, oil on canvas, The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois


Degas seems to have been fascinated by women and their daily activities, making them the core of his art.  He devoted endless hours to observing and drawing the opposite sex, whether in the ballet studio, or laundry, or as in the painting above, The Millinery Shop.

What an remarkable display of hats, each one with its own individuality.  Which will the prospective client choose?  The blue bonnet topped by an expertly placed bow?  Or the chapeau decorated with a wreath of spring-like flowers? Or the milliner’s current production, created with an artistry that Degas would admire.


*Quote of Edgar Degas is from Impressionism, Fashion, & Modernity by Gloria Groom and other authors (catalogue accompanying the exhibition), published by the Art Institute of Chicago in association with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Musee D’Orsay, Chicago, 2012.


The above image is used solely for educational purposes.





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