At the Café (c.1877) by Edgar Degas

At the Café - Edgar Degas - c.1877

Artwork Information

TitleAt the Café
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationFitzwilliam Museum (University of Cambridge), Cambridge, UK

About At the Café

“At the Café,” an artwork by Edgar Degas dating around 1877, exemplifies the Impressionist movement through its medium of oil on canvas. This genre painting captures a scene typical of social life and is housed at the Fitzwilliam Museum, which is part of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

The painting presents a close-up view of two individuals, presumably seated at a café. The person on the left, with their head slightly bowed, appears contemplative or perhaps melancholic, and the lively brushstrokes around them convey a bustling atmosphere. The seated figure on the right, with their face turned towards the left individual, seems to be engaged in a conversation or observing the other quietly. The artwork is characterized by Degas’ use of loose, expressive brushstrokes that capture the essence of the moment and the haziness of the setting, a hallmark of the Impressionist style. The colors are relatively muted, apart from some distinct pops of red that draw the viewer’s eye, such as the adornment on the figure’s wrist. The indistinct background suggests the interior of a café but leaves much to the imagination, focusing our attention more on the expressions and mood of the people depicted.

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