Degas considered his sculptures to be personal intimate objects, which he created for his own pleasure. History records that only a handful of the artist’s closest friends were even aware of the extraordinary number of sculptures he had created. This treasure became known to the wide public only after Degas’ death. His heirs found a large number of his sculptural objects scattered in both his home and studio. Most of the sculptures were made in wax mixed with clay, and the heirs decided to cast 74 in bronze in order to preserve them. It was a wise decision. Had they not been cast in bronze, this major body of work would have remained unknown forever.
Degas worked in various artistic media: oils and pastels, etchings and photography, painting on monotype plates and sculptures in wax. He also wrote poetry. Degas exhibited only one sculpture during his lifetime: The Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen, a realistic wax sculpture, which he dressed in real clothes. This unusual work was presented at the 1881 Sixth Impressionist Exhibition in Paris, arousing much curiosity and criticism. It is well documented that every Degas bronze was cast after the artist’s death. His sculptures focus on five main themes, presented here in five chapters: dancers, dancers backstage, bathing women, heads and horses.
Hardcover, 164 pages. English and Croatian. 2012