In April, reaching a three-volume academic edition of “the letters of Edgar Degas”, ten of which are associated with the brothers van Gogh.
“Be kind enough to give me the money tomorrow morning, I’m broke…” – that’s an example of a typical note from Edgar Degas, hastily scribbled on his business card. It’s addressed to Theo van Gogh, brother of Vincent van Gogh, the Manager of the branch of the gallery Boussod & Valadon in Paris, the streets of Montmartre, one of the first dealers began to buy the works of Degas.
The brothers van Gogh were big fans of the impressionist. In 1886, a few months after Vincent moved in with Theo in Paris, he wrote (in English) to his friend Horace Livens about contemporary art, which began to discover: “Not being a member of this club, I appreciate some of the paintings of the Impressionists: Degas Nudes, the landscapes of Claude Monet”. Apparently, shortly before he visited the spring, the eighth (and last) impressionist exhibition, where it was almost certainly presented a pastel by Edgar Degas “Dressing girl” (1885).
Later Vincent van Gogh wrote about how Degas depicts the naked female body, and claimed that the secret of his success is that women are not attracted to him sexually. Vincent said in the letter to his friend Emile Bernard: “He loves women and knows that if he loved them and was messing with them, I would have become mentally ill and hopeless at painting.”
The tenth of August, 1887 Degas sent the maid to the gallery, Theo van Gogh, to pick up the fee: “please tell my maid 1,5 thousand francs.” To emphasize that he is working hard, he added: “Tomorrow morning come to me the model for the Nude (the woman from behind, sitting cross-legged), and if you have time to finish it, will send it to you Monday”. Among the paintings that Theo had bought him that year was “the Woman at the vase with flowers” (1865), now part of the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in new York.
When in 1889, Vincent was in the hospital in Arles after he cut off his earlobe, he wrote to his brother that his pain was “horrible”. But even among all of this nightmare, he “kept thinking about Degas”. In that period Theo became friends with impressionist in February, 1890, visited him together with his sister Willemina. The artist told her that she reminds him of the women from the paintings of the Dutch old masters, and showed some of his work. Later Theo noted that Will “a very well realized female Nude”.
Vincent shot himself in July 1890, and in January the following year, his brother Theo died of syphilis. After that Edgar Degas had lost the support of the gallery Boussod & Valadon. At first it disturbed him, but by the time he became famous, and in the next few years it came to commercial success.
Degas, in turn, quickly became a fan of Vincent van Gogh and, after consolidating your financial situation, I bought a few of his works. Daniel Halevi, friend of Degas, and remember that collecting became a kind of obsession of the artist. One day in 1895 he exclaimed, showing the picture at home: “This is my new van Gogh, and Cezanne. I buy and buy! I just can’t stop.”
In that year he bought a picture of van Gogh’s Paris period “Two cut sunflowers” (1887), which is now kept in the Art Museum of Bern. He got it from the dealer Ambroise Vollard in exchange for two of their sketch dancers. Approximately at the same time bought still life “Grapes, lemons, pears and apples” (1887) – he is now in the collection of the art Institute of Chicago. In addition, he owned an early drawing by van Gogh’s “the Peasant, picking the ears of corn” (1885), now part of a private collection.
The three-volume edition of “Letters from Edgar Degas,” edited by Theodor Raffa will be released on April 30th under the auspices of the Institute Wildenstein&774;on – Plattner publishing Pennsylvania State University Press. It includes 1251 letter in the original French with English translation and annotations, including ten letters, which mention the brothers van Gogh. About a quarter of the letters of Degas, published for the first time.