Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Beard, Dorathea K.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

School of Art


Degas; Edgar; 1834-1917--Views on women; Degas; Edgar; 1834-1917--Political and social views; Women--France--Paris--History; Women in art


The art of Edgar Degas (1834-1917) has long been subject to criticism# both for its content and for the circumstances surrounding its creation. Whether or not Degas was a misogynist, an anti-Semite or a disgruntled recluse takes a back seat in this paper to the sociocultural commentary that Degas provided in the series of cafe-concert performers# the ballerinas at the Paris Opera, the laundresses and milliners of urban Paris, the images of bathing women and the prostitutes represented in the brothel monotypes. Edgar Degas created his works via an eye for movement and composition and an intellect that was attuned to contemporaneous critical debate concerning aspects of the private and public areas of women's lives. The works that I chose to correspond to the points in the text illustrate Degas' objectivity in representing all of the different kinds of women in the series—we do not see any of his personal views on canvas. Instead, the viewer is presented with images that both point out and refute contemporaneous stereotypes, cultural phenomena and sociopolitical activities of fin-de siecle Paris.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [66]-67)


xii, 127 pages




Northern Illinois University

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