From the beginning of his career to the end, Degas’ art was dominated by images of the female form. His name has become identified with such subjects as ballet-dancers, milliners and cabaret singers. This exhibition covers the entire range of Degas’ female imagery, from every stage in its development, every major subject area and includes examples of every scale, technique and medium used by the artist.
The exhibition is in three sections, divided by subject matter. Women of Leisure illustrates Degas’ activity as a portraitist, recording the features and behaviour of women from his own social class. In his middle years, Degas turned to less traditional subject-matter and Working Women shows the laundresses, entertainers and prostitutes who formed the basis of some of his most controversial works. Women in Private summarises the preoccupation of Degas’ later career: the female nude in the act of washing, bathing, drying herself and attending to her hair.