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Art Museum Opens Gallery Featuring Iconic Works From Edgar Degas

DENVER (CBS4) - The Denver Art Museum is preparing to open a new gallery featuring an up close look at a master piece from one of the world's most famous artists.

"There is so much more detail up close than you would think with pastel," said curator Timothy Strandring.

"Dance Examination" takes its place in the gallery for Degas: A Passion For Perfection, which chronicles 60 years of Edgar Degas' illustrious career.

Degas-Dance Examination-1941.6

"It's in extraordinary condition for a pastel and one of Degas' largest pastels, and it's world renowned. And you have it here," said Strandring.

Strandring spent years finding pieces for the exhibit.

Autoportrait, by Degas
Autoportrait. Degas, Edgar (French, 1834-1917). Etching, drypoint. Black carbon ink on paper, height, plate, 229 mm, width, plate, 143 mm; height, sheet, 327 mm, width, sheet, 250 mm, 1857. Production Note: Impression from a cancelled plate.

"I mean we've got things that have never been lent before and have been drawn from collections, public and private from all throughout the world," said Strandring.

Degas was a master of movement. His iconic ballerina paintings are one of the best examples of his style.

Degas-Dancer with Bouquets-Chrysler
Dancer with Bouquets ca. 1895-1900 Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917 Oil on canvas Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., in memory of Della Viola Forker Chrysler #71.507

"It wasn't because he was simply interested in the human body. He was interested in all its aspects in movement and its opportunity that let him leave marks all across the surface," Strandring said.

Degas-Woman Scratching her Back-1973.161

"The artist made his name during the French Impressionist era, but refused to conform to a single genre."

Scène de guerre au Moyen-Âge
Degas Edgar (dit), Gas Hilaire-Germain Edgar de (1834-1917). Paris, musée d'Orsay. RF2208.

"We equate him with all the impressionists, but he was basically an independent artist who blurred all the boundaries of painting. So, he would draw and paint at the same time and he didn't stick to one medium," said Strandring.

"He invented his own techniques of oil painting. He worked in as many different media as possible on his many different works through his entire career," said Strandring.

Dancer, Fourth Position in Front on the Left Leg, by Degas
Sculpture/Figure. Dancer, Fourth Position in Front on the Left Leg. Degas, Edgar (French, 1834-1917). Hébrard, Adrien-A., caster (French, 1865-1937). Bronze, cast, height 58.3cm, height 37.0cm, width 36.0cm. Original wax model c. 1882-1895 (Rewald), or c. 1882-1890, cast in bronze c. 1919-1921. Paris, Colmar.

Degas' paintings are iconic, but most remain a work in progress.

"Degas never really finished anything. There is an unfinished characteristic to virtually all his works," said Strandring.

Degas-Three Women at the Races-1973.234

His works are all part of his pursuit for perfection.

"Degas didn't want to close. He didn't want to finish a work of art. He simply wanted to keep working on it. It was all process," Strandring said.

The Denver Art Museum is the only venue in America to host the exhibition.

Degas_Four Ballet Dancers on Stage_Brazil

It opens to the public on Sunday, but museum officials say tickets for that day are already sold out and they encourage visitors to purchase tickets before other dates sell out as well.

LINK: Degas: A Passion For Perfection 

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