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Catalogue Raisonné of the Bronzes
Edited by Joseph S. Czestochowski and Anne Pingeot

Considered by Renoir to be the greatest living sculptor, Edgar Degas exhibited only one statue during his lifetime—the incomparable Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen. The work met a mixed reception, being labeled "vulgar" by the conservative and "quintessentially modern" by the avant-garde. Following the artist's death in 1917, about eighty more works were rescued from his studio and Degas's heirs contracted with the Hébrard foundry in Paris to cast these in strictly limited editions. Over the years, these casts have become prized pieces for collectors, acquired by the world's finest museums, and the subject of numerous publications and exhibitions in the United States and abroad.

Nonetheless, Degas's work has long been surrounded by contradiction and confusion and even deliberately shrouded in mystery. It transpires that the contract was repudiated and the editions neither as limited nor as well documented as we were given to understand. Much of the controversy is the province of art historians, but their investigations and conclusions make for fascinating reading.

Documenting one of only four complete, "vintage" sets of the bronzes, this lavishly illustrated catalogue presents for the first time stunning color images of the sculptures together with the archival photographs taken by Gautier of the original models found in Degas's studio in 1917-1918, and the historic photographs taken fifty years ago by the well-known Swiss art photographer Leonard von Matt.

The goal for this catalogue has been not so much to answer the lingering questions as to offer the general reader an exploration of Degas and his sculptural activity. Included are reprints of essays written in 1921 by a contemporary of the artist; by John Rewald to accompany relatively early exhibitions of Degas's works in the 1950s and 1970s; and two classic essays on the subject, reproduced as models of perception and lucidity. Contemporary thinking on the artist, his motivations, and the complex casting history of these works is reflected in the several essays by art historians currently working in the field.

Of especial interest to scholars and connoisseurs will be the appendixes, which include extensive exhibition, sales, and auction records; translations, from the original French, of research into the archives of the Hébrard foundry and the results of research into the newly available papers of early dealers and collectors, among them, Durand-Ruel, Mastbaum, Ferargil, Seligmann, Flechtheim, Thannhauser, and Kaganovitch. The original landmark catalogue raisonné, published by Pingeot in 1991, has been expanded dramatically as a result of meticulous and wide-ranging research into the provenance of the sculptures. Also included are the original inventory of Degas's studio; an analysis of the distribution of the pieces prior to 1936, and concordances of earlier catalogues.

This catalogue will accompany an exhibition—organized by International Arts—of the complete set of Degas's bronzes from the collection of the Museu de Arte de São Paulo in Brazil.

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