Edgar Degas collection to be showcased at new exhibition

Discovering Degas, which opens on May 24, will be the first international exhibition at the Burrell Collection.

Edgar Degas collection to be showcased at new exhibition at the Burrell Collection

A shipping magnate’s “incredible” complete collection of works by Edgar Degas is to go on show together for the first time in an exhibition at the museum that bears his name.

The 23 works from Sir William Burrell’s collection will be displayed alongside around 50 paintings, works on paper and sculptures on loan from some of the UK and world’s finest national and international collections at the Burrell Collection in Glasgow.

Discovering Degas, which opens on May 24, will be the first international exhibition at the museum since it reopened in 2022 following a major refurbishment.

The collection of around 9,000 objects was amassed by Sir William and donated to Glasgow by the shipping magnate and his wife Lady Constance in 1944.

Pippa Stephenson-Sit, curator of European art at Glasgow Life Museums, who co-curated Discovering Degas, said: “This spring, for the first time, visitors to the Burrell can explore Sir William Burrell’s incredible collection of works, by one of the world’s most revered artists, in its entirety.

“Discovering Degas promises to be a vibrant, engaging exhibition. We have drawn on everything that has made the Burrell so successful and distilled this into our special exhibition programme.

“The exhibition will offer a unique introduction and fresh perspectives on a hugely popular art movement.

“This is also an important opportunity to better understand Degas in his entirety, both as a brilliant artist but also as a man whose opinions and ideas would not go unchallenged today.

Before the Performance by Edgar Degas

“Above all, though, this exhibition will be a wonderful opportunity to view stunning international works, share the strength of Burrell’s legacy, and provide new ways for visitors to view and engage with our incredible collection.”

Letters and other archival material in the exhibition show Sir William was amongst the earliest Scottish collectors to buy works by Degas.

The show positions the acquisitions in the context of other British collectors who, in the late 19th and early 20th century, were among the first to fully appreciate the artist and purchase his works.

It also considers the influence of art dealers, like Alexander Reid, who championed Degas.

Professor Frances Fowle, senior trustee at the Sir William Burrell Trust, said: “Degas’s work appealed to collectors like Sir William Burrell due to his skilful drawing, as well as his interest in portraying figures in movement.

“He was extraordinarily modern in his approach, working in a variety of media, adopting unexpected viewpoints and experimenting with bold colours and unusual light effects.

“This exhibition demonstrates the whole range of the artist’s output and creates a context for Burrell’s outstanding collection.”

Almost 70% of the works in the show are coming on loan from collections including The Courtauld, National Museums Liverpool Walker Art Gallery, The National Gallery London, The National Museum Cardiff, the National Galleries of Scotland and the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.

Loans are supported by the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund.

Tickets are now on sale for Discovering Degas: Collecting In The Age Of William Burrell, which runs until Monday September 30.

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