‘Degas: A New Vision’ exhibition brings art and ballerinas to the National Gallery of Victoria

Degas: A New Vision at The National Gallery of Victoria is a must-see for lovers of iconic artists.  Naturally, the entire Degas collection cannot be presented in this exhibition, so some of your favourites may be absent.  However, there is a good selection of sketches, sculptures, paintings and pastels on display.  They have been tastefully divided into different ‘rooms’ in the exhibition wing of the gallery.

Installation view of Degas: A New Vision at NGV International, 24 June – 18 September 2016. Photo: Tom Ross

Installation view of Degas: A New Vision at NGV International, 24 June – 18 September 2016. Photo: Tom Ross

What impressed me the most, apart from the beautiful paintings, was the written historical information that is provided in the rooms. Visitors can learn about the context of the works, the models, the relationship of the models to the artist, and the influences on Degas’ changing styles and mediums.  This information helps to really appreciate the artistic processes that led to the finished pieces.  There are also timelines that document his life and accomplishments of you like that kind of nitty-gritty detail.  If you are fortunate to have a guided tour of the exhibition, you will learn even more about the pieces and the sometimes cantankerous artist.  Audio guides are also available.

Degas: A New Vision at NGV International, 24 June – 18 September 2016

Degas: A New Vision at NGV International, 24 June – 18 September 2016

The crowds were lined up around the block at the NGV members’ event that I attended, so if you can go in an off-peak time you might feel less pressure to move along.  However, I found that I had ample time to gaze at my faves. And like a good dessert, I went back for a second helping of the ballet paintings.

There is a nice range of merchandise in case you want to make someone who lives out of Victoria very jealous of your visit to the exhibition.  However, I couldn’t bring myself to buy the obligatory fridge magnet after seeing the real thing in all of its splendour.

And yes!  You can take photos of most of the artworks. (NB…most!)

– Katie
Katie Marsh is now celebrating her one year anniversary in Melbourne after having moved from sunny Perth.  Overwhelmed by the choice of things to do in Melbourne, she often wonders why it took so long to move here.

Degas: A New Vision at NGV International, 24 June – 18 September 2016

Degas: A New Vision at NGV International, 24 June – 18 September 2016

I was invited to attend the opening of the NGV’s highly anticipated winter event Degas: A New Vision.

One of the highlights for me was to see real ballerinas standing next to Degas’ works. It brought to life the essence and romantic mood of the paintings. You can also get to enjoy this with Poise, Poses, and Pirouettes in August, where ballerinas and dancers from the Australian Ballet will pose alongside some of Degas’ famous works. This will certainly make the works come to life.

Degas also created sculptures in his career with over 150 wax sculptures found after his death. The most outstanding one is the ‘The little fourteen-year- old dancer 1879–81, cast 1922–37’. While critics slammed this piece at the time for ‘degrading’ the romantic notion of dancers, it ultimately is one of the more interesting pieces of the show.

– Angela
Angela Hogan, lover of all things art and life.

Degas: A New Vision runs from 24 June till 18 September 2016 at the National Gallery of Victoria. Buy tickets here.
The venue is accessible.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of the National Gallery of Victoria.
Photo credit: NGV and Tom Ross.