Since I was a tiny little jelly bean in a pink tutu I have loved me some Degas. This is one of my favorites, but it’s like children: you can’t really choose a favorite.
However, the pink tutus really make this one for me: the colors, the textures, the lighting. And this group is unusual because many of Degas’s ballerinas are red-heads, likewise his washerwomen and bathing women. In his own time, he was very successful first as a painter and then, much later, in photography.
I am also in love with his pastels of bathing women.
Seated Woman Bathing Herself, 1895
How can one not be?
Like Lautrec and other artists of the period, Degas seems to have been drawn to redheads. That is what makes the pink dancers above a bit of an anomaly.
And of course, there are the racetrack scenes and the scenes of middle-class family life. Not as popular with me. Perhaps they shold be, however: perhaps I should look at how Degas paints horses and jockeys as well as dancers, singers, and bathers.
Degas himself was apparently not the nicest man, including an anti-Semite who drew away from Jewish friends and sympathizers during l’Affaire Dreyfus at the end of the century. One of the lessons in growing up is to figure out how to celebrate the art, if not the artist.