NEW YORK, July 30, 2015—The Museum of Modern Art announces Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty, a major exhibition focusing on Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas's (1834-1917) extraordinary and rarely seen monotypes and their impact on his wider practice, on view March 26 through July 24, 2016. The first exhibition in the U.S. in nearly 50 years to examine these radical, innovative works—and MoMA's first monographic exhibition of the artist—Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty will feature approximately 130 monotypes along with some 50 related works, including paintings, drawings, pastels, sketchbooks, and prints. The exhibition is organized by Jodi Hauptman, Senior Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, MoMA, with Richard Kendall, Curator-at-Large, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. MoMA is the sole venue for the exhibition.
A towering figure in 19th-century art, Degas is best known as a painter and chronicler of the ballet. Yet his work as a printmaker reveals the true extent of his restless creativity, as he mixed techniques with abandon in his studio and shared recipes with colleagues for producing unconventional effects. In the 1870s, during an era of enthusiasm for experimental printmaking, the artist Ludovic Lepic likely introduced Degas to the monotype process—drawing in black ink on a metal plate that was then run through a press, typically resulting in a single print. Captivated by the medium's potential, Degas made more than 300 monotypes during two discrete bursts of activity, from the mid-1870s to the mid-1880s, and again during the early 1890s.