Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty (Kids)

*Cap Hornu near Saint-Valery-sur-Somme (Le Cap Hornu près Saint-Valery-sur-Somme)*

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas. Cap Hornu near Saint-Valery-sur-Somme (Le Cap Hornu près Saint-Valery-sur-Somme). 1890–93 6006

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917). Cap Hornu near Saint-Valery-sur-Somme (Le Cap Hornu près Saint-Valery-sur-Somme). c. 1890–93. Monotype in oil on paper. Plate: 11 3/4 × 15 11/16″ (29.9 × 39.9 cm). British Museum, London. Bequeathed by Campbell Dodgson. © The Trustees of the British Museum/Art Resource, NY

Jodi Hauptman: We call these works landscapes. And they definitely give us a sense of the land -- you see shapes that look like mountains or valleys and areas that look like sky or water. But they weren't necessarily real places.

Narrator: Degas made these monotypes after taking a trip through the countryside in France. Here, Degas is showing what he remembers from his trip – but he’s also changing the things that he saw, making different versions of the same image, mixing and matching.

Jodi Hauptman: He wanted to give a sense of places he may have seen. But he also wanted to give a sense of places he only would have imagined putting together things that he might have known, like a certain mountain and a certain lake that might never have been together, but in his own mind, he put them together, and so you get something that's an imaginary landscape, not something that he actually saw.

Narrator: Like many of the works we’ve looked at together, these are monotype prints. But instead of using ink, Degas wanted to experiment with a different material. So he used colorful oil paints – and they’re even messier and harder to control than ink!

Degas printed this image and the one next to it from the same plate. But wait, there’s something funny about one of these two works. Can you tell what it is? They look like they’re almost the same but one of them is upside down! Take some time to look and see if you can discover which parts are upside down. Can you see the way he put trees in one print in what was the sky in another?

Degas often made a second print from the plate. Sometimes he changed the image before he printed it again; and sometimes he changed it by using pastels. See if you can find other pairs in this room.

5 / 8