Cafe-Concert Singer (c.1879) by Edgar Degas

Cafe-Concert Singer - Edgar Degas - c.1879

Artwork Information

TitleCafe-Concert Singer
ArtistEdgar Degas
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationNorton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA, US

About Cafe-Concert Singer

The artwork “Cafe-Concert Singer” by Edgar Degas, created circa 1879, is a pastel on paper that exemplifies the Impressionist movement. Degas, noted for his keen observation of life, has rendered this genre painting with a focus on the Parisian entertainment scene. The piece is part of the collection at the Norton Simon Museum, located in Pasadena, California, United States.

Examining the artwork, one notes the immediate presence of a female singer positioned in the foreground, her face and upper torso dominating the composition. Degas has masterfully used the medium of pastel to convey the vibrancy and atmosphere of the cafe-concert. The singer’s facial expression is rendered with a sense of immediacy and a candid quality typical of Degas’ portraits. The pastels create a soft yet textured appearance, with the use of light and shadow adding dimension to her form.

The background is deliberately less defined, with seemingly spontaneous strokes that suggest movement and the ambient lighting of the venue. The colors are muted yet strategically placed to allude to the hazy, smoke-filled room, providing a sense of depth. The presence of other figures in the background, only faintly discernible, adds a layer of depth and context, hinting at the social interaction typical of such settings.

Overall, Degas’ work captures not just a moment within the Parisian nightlife but also the essence of the Impressionist movement’s interest in light, movement, and the beauty of everyday scenes.

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