Friday, June 16, 2017

PICTURE BOOK - What Degas Saw by Samantha Friedman

Illustrated by Cristina Pieropan
with reproductions of works by Edgar Degas (7 of them)
2016, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 3.97 - 34 ratings
My rating: 4
Endpapers: Front: Pen and Ink people - Back: Made to look like a blank canvas

My comments:  The concept of the book is that Paris is changing and that Degas, as an artist, wanted to change with the times.  So he went out walking the streets of Paris, examining its people and their activities.  The explanation is in words and watercolor and ink illustrations, but when you turn the page, you see Degas' actual painting.  The writing was lovely, except for the first and last page. "The world was changing.  Paris was alive." (What, exactly, does this mean?).  Then, on the next-to-last page was my favorite paragraph, "Soon he would put brush to canvas, or pastel to paper, or ink to plate, and he would try to describe the city's push and pull, its run and hum, its lean and stretch."  But when you turn the page, it reads, "But for just a little while, all was still."  There is still activity on the streets.  Those two pages - because of their words - just didn't work for me.  Ah, well.  Otherwise, an excellent picture book.

Goodreads:  What Degas Saw looks at the world through a beloved artist’s eyes and provides insight into his creative process. Walking through the streets of Paris with cape and cane, the French artist Edgar Degas observes the world around him, finding inspiration at every turn. From the blurry faces of passersby glimpsed through a bus window to the sun-dappled landscape seen from a moving train, from the hunched profiles of laundresses at work to light-bathed ballerinas on the opera house stage, the artist—with open eyes and a curious mind—collects impressions of the people and places he sees. Accompanies major MoMA exhibition, Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty, on view March 26 through July 24, 2016.

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