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HILAIRE GERMAIN EDGARD DEGAS (1834- )

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Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 932 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HILAIRE GERMAIN EDGARD DEGAS (1834- ), French painter, was born in Paris on the 19th of July 1834. Entering in 1855 the Ecole des Beaux Arts, he early developed independence of artistic outlook, studying under Lamothe. He first exhibited in the Salon of 1865, contributing a " War in themiddle ages," a work executed in pastel. To this medium he was ever faithful, using it for some of his best work. In z866 his " Steeplechase " revealed him as a painter of the racecourse and of all the most modern aspects of life and of Parisian society, treated in an extremely original manner. He subsequently exhibited in 1867 " Family Portraits," and in 1868 a portrait of a dancer in the " Ballet of La Source." In 1869 and 187o he restricted himself to portraits; but thenceforward he abandoned the Salons and attached himself to the Impressionists. With Manet and Monet he took the lead of the new school at its first exhibition in 1874, and repeatedly contributed to these exhibi, tions (in 1876, 1878, 1879 and 188o). In 1868 he had shown his first study of a dancer, and in numerous pastels he proclaimed himself the painter of the ballet, representing its figurantes in every attitude with more constant aim at truth than grace. Several of his works may be seen at the Luxembourg Gallery, to which they were bequeathed, among a collection of impressionist pictures, by M. Caillebotte. In 188o Degas showed his powers of observation in a set of " Portraits of Criminals," and he attempted modelling in a " Dancer," in wax. He afterwards returned to his studies of the sporting world, exhibiting in December 1884 at the Petit Gallery two views of " Races " which had a great success, proving the increasing vogue of the artist among collectors. He is ranked with Manet as the leader of the " impressionist school." At the eighth Impressionist Exhibition, in 1886, Degas continued his realistic studies of modern life, showing drawings of the nude, of workwomen, and of jockeys. Besides his pastels and his paintings of genre and portraits—among these, several likenesses of Manet—Degas also handled his favourite subjects in etching and in aquatint; and executed several lithographs of " Singers at Cafes-concert," of " Ballet-girls," and indeed of every possible subject of night-life and incidents behind the scenes. His work is to be seen not only at the Luxembourg but in many of the great private collections in Paris, in England and America. In the Centenary Exhibition of 1900 he exhibited " The Interior of a Cotton-Broker's Office at New Orleans " (belonging to the Museum at Pau) and " The Rehearsal." See also G. Moore, " Degas, the Painter of Modern Life," Magazine of Art (189o); J. K. Huysmans, Certains (Paris, 1889); G. Geffroy, La Vie Artistique (3a Serie, Paris, 1894). DE GEER, LOUIS GERHARD, BARON (1818-1896), Swedish statesman and writer, was born on the 18th of July 1818 at Finspang castle. He adopted the legal profession, and in 1855 became president of the Gota Hofret, or lord justice of one of the Swedish supreme courts. From the 7th of April 1858 to the 3rd of June 187o he was minister of justice. As a member of the Upper House he took part in all the Swedish Riksdags from 1851 onwards, though he seldom spoke. From 1867 to 1878 he was the member for Stockholm in the first chamber, and introduced and passed many useful reformatory statutes; but his greatest achievement, as a statesman, was the reform of the Swedish representative system, whereby he substituted a bi-cameral elective parliament, on modern lines, for the existing cumber-some representation by estates, a survival from the later middle ages. This great measure was accepted by the Riksdag in December 1865, and received the royal sanction on the 22nd of June 1866. For some time after this De Geer was the most popular man in Sweden. He retired from the ministry in 187o, but took office again, as minister of justice, in 1875. In 1876 he became minister of state, which position he retained till April 188o, when the failure of his repeated efforts to settle the armaments' question again induced him to resign. From 1881 to 1888 he was chancellor of the universities of Upsala and Lund. Besides several novels and aesthetic essays, De Geer has written a few political memoirs of supreme merit both as to style and matter, the most notable of which are: Minnesteckning ofver A. J. v. Hopken (Stockholm, 1881); Minnesteckning bfver Hans Jarta (Stockholm, 1874); Minnesteckning ofver B. B. von Platen (Stockholm, 1886); and his own Minnen (Stockholm, 1892), an autobiography, invaluable as a historical document, in which the political experience and the matured judgments of a lifetime are recorded with singular clearness, sobriety and charm. See Sveriges historia (Stockholm, 1881, &c.), vi.; Carl Gustaf Malmstrom, Historiska Studier (Stockholm, 1897). (R. N. B.)
End of Article: HILAIRE GERMAIN EDGARD DEGAS (1834- )
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