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October 11, 2002 - Image 88

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Arts Mortal ment

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DEGAS

from page 87

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Clockwise from top:

Edgar Degas:
"The Dance Lesson,"
ca. 1879. Oil on
canvas. National
Gallery of Art,
Washington.

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Edgar Degas:
"The Ballet Class,"
ca. 1878-80. Oil on
canvas. Philadelphia
Museum of Art.

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Edgar Degas:
"Ballet Dancer
Adjusting Her
Costume," 1875-76
Graphite pencil
heightened with
white on pink paper.
The Detroit
Institute of Arts.

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experiences that would be similar to
what Degas had set up for himself.
"Degas worked at art in much the
same way the dancers worked at danc-
ing," says Rubin, a university writing
teacher who often returns to Michigan
to visit family and celebrate Jewish
holidays and events. "He drew the
same poses again and again, just as the
dancers repeated their steps again and
again."
Rubin, whose book will be available
at the DIA along with the exhibition
catalogue completed by the curators,
explains how Degas worked with trac-
ing paper to repeat and then enhance
his subjects.

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A Period Of Anti-Semitism

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While Rubin offers a biography of
Degas, she does not delve into the
artist's anti-Semitism. She felt the sub-
ject was not pertinent to the segment
of his life covered in the exhibit and in
her book. .

Charles Dellheim-, professor and
chairman of the department of history
at Boston. University, has lectured in
Michigan on the art world past and
present and describes Degas' anti-
Semitism as strongest toward the end
of his lift. The professor explains that
the artist's attitude was not uncom-
mon during the time and was
strengthened with the notoriety sur-
rounding the. Dreyfus case, which
wrongly accused a Jewish officer of
spying.
Dellheim relates that Degas had
moved in circles that included Jews
and had patrons who were Jews, but
the artist did not treat them well.
Degas' anti-Semitic feelings, which
even could be noted in an unflattering
depiction of a Jewish subject, caused a
rift with people he had known.
When Degas' deteriorating vision
prevented him from reading newspa-
pers, the professor says, the dance
artist required that his maid read an
anti-Semitic publication to him.

"Degas was an ordinary anti-Semite
and an extraordinary painter,"
Dellheim says. "His views were
unpleasant and not to be ignored, but
it's not useful to bring them to the
exhibit as anything more than a side-
light."



Degas and the Dance will be on
view Oct. 20-Jan. 12 at the
Detroit Institute of Arts.
Museum hours will be 10 . a.m.-6
p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 10
a.m.-9•p.m. Fridays-Saturdays
and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays.
Timed tickets, which are not
included with museum admis-
sion (a suggested donation of $4
adults/$1 children), are $16-$18
for adults/$10 for seniors/$8 for
youths 6-17. Information on spe-
cial events is available on the
Web at www.dia.org or by call-
ing (313) 833-7971.

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