Groundbreaking Degas Exhibition, Accompanying Catalogue Explore the Millinery Trade in Paris

Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917; “The Millinery Shop”, 1879-1886; oil on canvas; 39 3/8 x 49 9/16 inches; The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr.  and Mrs.  Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection
Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917; “The Millinery Shop”, 1879-1886; oil on canvas; 39 3/8 x 49 9/16 inches; The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection
  • Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917; “At the Milliner (Chez la Modiste)”, ca.  1882-85; oil on canvas; 24 1/4 x 29 inches; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Collection of Mr.  and Mrs.  Paul Mellon; Photo: Travis Fullerton © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

    Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917; “At the Milliner (Chez la Modiste)”, ca. 1882-85; oil on canvas; 24 1/4 x 29 inches; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon; Photo: Travis Fullerton © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

  • Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917; “Self-Portrait in the Soft Hat”, 1857; oil on paper mounted on canvas; 10 ¼ x 7 ½ inches; Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA

    Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917; “Self-Portrait in the Soft Hat”, 1857; oil on paper mounted on canvas; 10 ¼ x 7 ½ inches; Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA

The first exhibition to explore Edgar Degas’ fascination with high-fashion hats and the women who made them is accompanied by a scholarly, full-color catalogue. The groundbreaking exhibition—Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade—opened at the Saint Louis Art Museum on Feb. 12 and runs through May 7.

The catalogue is edited by the exhibition’s co-curators, Simon Kelly, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum, and Esther Bell, curator in charge of European paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Featuring sumptuous paintings, pastels and preparatory drawings by Degas, Cassatt, Manet, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec, among others, this generously illustrated book surveys the millinery industry of 19th-century Paris.

Peppered throughout with photographs, posters and prints of French hats, the book includes essays that explore Degas’ particular interest in the millinery trade; the tension between modern fashion and reverence for history and the grand art-historical tradition; a chronicle of Parisian milliners from Caroline Reboux to Coco Chanel; and examples of how the millinery trade is depicted in literature. Brilliantly linking together the worlds of industry, art and fashion, this book examines the fundamental role of hats and hat makers in 19th-century culture.

The catalogue includes contributions by the exhibition curators, as well as Susan Hiner, Françoise Tétart-Vittu, Melissa Buron, Laura Camerlengo, Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell and Abigail Yoder.

The retail price of the catalogue is $75 for hardcover and $49.95 for softcover.

The exhibition—organized by the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco—is the first to examine the height of the millinery trade in Paris, from around 1875 to 1914, as reflected in the work of the Impressionists. In addition to works by Degas, the exhibition explores millinery’s place in Impressionist iconography by including works by his peers, as well as 40 exquisite examples of period hats.

 

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