Lot #416
Edgar Degas Autograph Letter Signed

The great painter of Paris theatre attends an opera by "the infamous Reyer, the lord of the score"

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Estimate: $1500+
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The great painter of Paris theatre attends an opera by "the infamous Reyer, the lord of the score"

Important French painter and sculptor (1834-1917) regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism. ALS in French, signed “Degas,” four pages on two adjoining sheets, 4 x 6.5, no date. Letter to a friend discussing the opera, with mentions of composer/critic Ernest Reyer and singer Rose Caron, renowned for her interpretations of Brunehild in Reyer's Sigurd. In part (translated): "So when are you coming back? I'm asking you that, forgetting that you like the open fields, and that you are a garden-lover; it is there that I shall come one of these days to drop a Wagnerian cobblestone on your head. Thus, 'twas I, the boor—subtly dominating the domain of modern plasticity, but more usually the imbiber of the honey of [the bees] of Hymettus from the opera Sigurd. I saw it again, and failed to meet Reyer at Muller's cafe, to the right of the monument. The divine Mademoiselle Caron; I compared her (to her face) to the figures of Puvis de Chavanne, who she didn't know about. Rhythm… rhythm! [I hope] that your good wife will give it back to me someday soon, in front of the infamous Reyer, the lord of the score." In fine condition, with a slight brush to the signature.

Degas' frequent visits to the opera, ballet, and café-concerts provided him with plenty of subjects for his artwork, which included two of the characters mentioned here: rough drawings of Reyer are present in sketchbooks from circa 1877, and he painted a portrait of Mme. Caron around 1892. A great letter evoking his consuming love of the theatre.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts
  • Dates: #616 - Ended September 15, 2021

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