Exemplified above by Two Dancers (1890), Impressionist painter Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas continued to portray dancers into his late career. As his eyesight began to fail, the strong, gestural activity of working pastel on paper gave him the effects that he desired as well as a medium he could control. The harsh color contrasts evoke the artificial stage lighting on the dancers' tulle skirts and the makeup powdered on their bare flesh as they wait in the wings.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Debra N. Mancoff is an art historian and lecturer and the author of numerous books on nineteenth-century European and American paintings. She is a scholar in residence at the Newberry Library.