A Cotton Office in New Orleans by Edgar Degas

Title: A Cotton Office in New Orleans
Date: 1873
Movement: Impressionism
Media: Oil on canvas
Current Location: Musée des Beaux-Arts, Pau, France

The Cotton Office in New Orleans is a result of several individual sketches and attention to detail over a period of time. Degas’ family members feature in the painting with his brother posed reading a newspaper and his father-in-law handling a ball of cotton. Degas’ love of striking perspectives and skill in composition knits together the fractured space by stretching areas of white across the centre of the painting. In effect drawing the viewer to move through the piece from left to right.

Artist: Edgar Degas
Born: 19 July 1834, Paris, France
Nationality: French
Died: 27 September 1917, Paris, France

Remembered as an Impressionist, Degas was part of a group of Paris artists who exhibited together in the 1870s. He shared the novel techniques of capturing effects of light and scenes of urban leisure. Degas’ academic training and his leaning toward Realism set him apart from his peers and he rejected the label ‘Impressionist’ to describe himself as ‘Independent.’

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