Austin,  circa 70's

NOTES ON DEGAS

 

I came away from the retrospective at Houston Museum of Fine Arts last year with a completely different view of his work. Aside from the Images widely reproduced, I found his work oddly misanthropic. Many of the works LOOKED like they were unfinished. But in image after image, the part of the artwork that are unfinished are the faces, mostly women. Coincidence? Revealing are the smaller works of brothels and cabarets

Most revealing were his late life experiments in photography, most with elements of self portraiture. They are dark, and he most often placed himself deep in the shadows, almost unseen.

Further, his point of view is that of a voyeur, placing figures and fixtures between the main part of the painting, and his point of view(ours too). Aside from the portraits of people he knew(which are awesome), his subjects are distant and detached. I came away with a feeling of sadness for him, because I came away feeling like an outsider looking in, wanting so much to be a part of it all, but because of who he is, could never belong.