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Introduction to the Exhibition—Degas at the Opéra

Kimberly A. Jones, curator of 19th-century French paintings, National Gallery of Art  
Edgar Degas (1834–1917) is celebrated as the painter of dancers, a subject that dominated his art for nearly four decades. An exuberant display of rich imagination and keen observation, his renowned images of the Paris Opéra are among the most sophisticated and visually compelling works he created. Celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Opéra’s founding, Degas at the Opéra presents approximately 100 of the artist’s best-known and beloved works in a range of media, including paintings, pastels, drawings, prints, and sculpture. Organized with the Musées d'Orsay et de l'Orangerie, Paris, the exhibition is on view at the National Gallery of Art from March 1 through July 5, 2020. On opening day, curator Kimberly Jones shares insights on the exhibition, the first to explore Degas’s enduring fascination with the Opéra.