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impressions of paris

Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Daumier

Impressions of Paris: Lautrec, Degas, Daumier examines the major contribution to French art made by three key figures: Honoré-Victorin Daumier (1808–1879), Edgar Degas (1834–1917) and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901). A generation apart, each was a consummate draughtsman whose innovative compositions and embrace of modern subject matter played a significant role in artistic developments in France over the nineteenth century.



27 March 2015
  - 8 June 2015
gallery four



The youngest of the artists, Lautrec, who sadly dies before reaching 37, borrowed themes and compositions from Degas, an artist he much admired and emulated.  Images of drinkers at a table, ballet and cabaret scenes and nudes reveal the powerful influence that Degas had on the younger artist, as well as Lautrec’s own considerable originality, particularly as a portrayer of individuals rather than the depiction of types often favoured by Degas.


Degas adopted themes of modern French life, the ballet, the race course, the café-concert and the demi-monde and played an important role in the rejection of mythological and historical subjects favoured by the Impressionists.  Many of Degas’ ideas on composition and subjects were, in turn, drawn from Daumier.  This French satirist was both extraordinarily gifted and prolific, making a name for himself by lampooning the affectations, stupidities and greed of members of the French bourgeois society in caricatures, which Degas avidly collected.


These three master draughtsmen captured the spirit of Paris in their prints and posters. Through the examination of this work, we find clues as to why dramatic changes took place in French art over the nineteenth century. They formed part of other generations of artists who admired Daumier and who adapted the caricaturist's critical lithographic observations. In this way Daumier's legacy was a brilliant journalistic record of the modern capital and contributed to an era in France ripe for a new art.


Impressions of Paris: Lautrec, Degas, Daumier features over 150 prints, posters, drawings and monotypes drawn from the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, with the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory being the first venue on a national tour of this remarkable exhibition.

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