Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (1834–1917) was a passionate devotee of ballet—he knew the dancers, the music, the choreography. He also knew the work involved in the life of the dancer, the endless rote and repetition of steps to achieve supreme grace, agility, and expression. Degas's Dancers at the Barre traces ballet in Degas's art from the 1870s to 1900. Bringing together carefully chosen paintings, drawings, pastels, prints, and sculptures from some of the world's finest collections, this book celebrates The Phillips Collection's Dancers at the Barre (early 1880s–c. 1900) as a crowning achievement in the artist's prodigious career.
Phillips Chief Curator Eliza Rathbone details Degas's intricate process behind his late masterpiece and Head of Conservation Elizabeth Steele presents fascinating discoveries from the painting's recent conservation. National Gallery of Art object conservators Shelley Sturman and Daphne Barbour discuss Degas's sculptures, and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon reflects on Degas in the context of ballet today. Full-color reproductions of the works in the exhibition—accompanied by images of related works, notes from the technical analysis of additional works by Degas in the Phillips Collection, and a detailed chronology of the artist's life—reveal the impressionist master's complex exploration of the figure and devotion to dance.