Running Time: 91 minutes
Directed by David Bickerstaff, the documentary is an exploration of the French impressionist artist Edgar Degas, featuring a superb exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, where the UK’s most extensive Degas collection is held, and traveling to Paris and Italy where Degas spent his formative years and taught himself to paint.
‘Degas: Passion for Perfection’ offers a unique insight into Degas’ personal and creative life, looking at his relationship with the impressionist movement, fascination with dance, and struggle with his eyesight, which in time would prevent him making art altogether.
The film uncovers Degas’ obsessive pursuit for perfection both through experimentation with new techniques and the study of past masters, including Italian Renaissance artists and near-contemporaries such as Ingres and Delacroix. French historian Daniel Halévy describes the artist as: “Always working, searching, almost always dissatisfied, he kept the greater part his art hidden in boxes out of which he scarcely ever took anything...except what he was forced to sell to enable him to live.”
The art dealer Ambroise Vollard recounted how Degas showed him a dancer he had created for the twentieth time, and exclaimed: "I wouldn't take a bucket of gold for the pleasure I had in destroying it and beginning over again." Upon his death in 1917, more than 150 sculptures were found in his studio, made from wax, clay and plasticine. Of those that survived, The Fitzwilliam Museum is the only establishment in the UK to hold examples of these rare and extremely fragile works.
Along with close-up views of Degas’ work, written accounts by friends and commentators and letters by Degas himself reveal the complex inner workings of one of France’s most influential artists.
Phil Grabsky, Executive Producer of EXHIBITION ON SCREEN, comments: “Edgar Degas is one of the greats of modern art and yet is little known apart from his paintings of young ballet dancers, and certainly often misunderstood. For his contemporaries he was a giant – but a giant that preferred to stay in the shadows.”
David Bickerstaff, Director of Degas: Passion for Perfection, comments: “Considered by many to be one of the greatest draughtsmen of all time, Degas enthrals us with his views of the everyday - cafe life, horse racing, ballet dancers, family portraits and intimate female nudes. Highly regarded by other artists, Degas’ influence spans a seismic shift in art history which marked the arrival of Impressionism and a new modernism.”
Dates: Saturday 13, 27 March 2021 at 2pm
Venue: RCB Forum, 2nd floor River City Bangkok
150 THB Ticket available at www.ticketmelon.com/rivercitybangkok/degas