Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)was born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas. He was a founding member of the Impressionist movement and a forefather of modernism in Western art. Degas became famous and is best known for his portrayals of ballerinas. He was a pioneer in using many compositional innovations and in the portrayal of modern, urban subject matter. But Degas never betrayed his devotion to the working methods of the old masters. Degas’ experimentations with emerging media like synthetic pigments, photography, lithography, and pastels were groundbreaking and helped pave the way for the work of Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and Paul Gauguin.

Self-Portrait, Degas, 1855

Self-Portrait, Degas, 1855, oil on paper, mounted on canvas, 81.5 x 65 cm, Museé d’Orsay