Edgar Degas (1834-1917) - Dancer with bouquet
France Stamp Issued 1970
Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France
Degas is regarded as one of the founders of the impressionist movement although he rejected the term, and preferred to refer to his work as realism. He was born into a relatively wealthy family in Paris, and he failed as a law student before embarking on an artistic career. Degas travelled in Europe in addition to spending time in the United States in the 1870s as he had family there.
Towards the latter half of his career, he was quite successful as he was one of the key painters and organisers of the impressionist movement - however, his works are more known for their emphasis in depicting the beauty of movement of the human form. As such, ballet is a common subject of Degas' work, consisting of up to a third of all his paintings. This was quite a contemporary subject at Degas' time, as ballet was a common form of urban entertainment in France at the time when the impressionist movement took place.