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Degas exhibition

Author: The Sofia Echo staff Date: Fri, Sep 10 2010 1 Comment, 2196 Views
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On September 2, an exhibition of 74 sculptures by Edgar Degas opened at the National Art Gallery in Sofia. The collection is owned by the US-based MT Abraham Center for the Visual Arts, is presented by the French Embassy in Sofia and the Bulgarian Culture Ministry. The exhibition continues until October 29. 

  • Anonymous
    Gary Arseneau Rating:
    #1 07, 17, Mon, Sep 13 2010

    September 5, 2010

    All so-called “bronzes," attributed to Edgar Degas, much less in the Bulgarian National Art Gallery in Sofia, are non-disclosed posthumous -forgeries-.

    There are -no- exceptions. The dead don't sculpt.

    On page 660 of the Seventh Edition of Black's Law Dictionary, -forgery- is defined as: "The act of fraudulently making a false document or altering a real one to be used as if genuine."

    None of these bronze forgeries were forged directly from the mixed-media models Edgar Degas created during his lifetime. [...]

    Read the full comment

    This is confirmed on page 609, of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s published 1988 Degas catalogue, in his “A Note on Degas’s Bronzes” essay, the curator Gary Tinterow wrote: “The bronzes included in this exhibition, like those widely distributed throughout the world, are posthumous, second-generation casts of the original wax sculptures by Degas.”’

    Edgar Degas never worked exclusively in wax but mixed media; cloth, wire, paint brush, plastine, wood and the like. If you tried to cast his mixed-media models into bronze they would burst into flames, destroying them.

    This is confirmed in the National Gallery of Art’s published 1998 Degas at the Races catalogue. On page 180 in Daphne S. Barbour’s and Shelly G. Strum’s “The Horse in Wax and Bronze” essay, these authors wrote: “Not a single sculpture has been found to be made exclusively of wax, and none was intended to be sacrificed and melted during lost-wax casting.”

    What that means is the Hebrard foundry had to make posthumous wax models for casting in bronze with their hands resulting in the models having their fingerprints not Degas. This perspective was confirmed to the art historian Jean Adhemar by the founder M. Palazzolo

    Edgar Degas never signed his mixed-media models. On page 1387 in the Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, the term -signature- is defined as: “A person’s name or mark written by that person or at the person’s direction.”

    Therefore, the posthumous application of Degas' signature to these bronzes would be considered counterfeit.

    The dead don't sign.

    Finally, Association of Art Museum Directors' ethical guidelines on sculptural reproductions state any transfer into new materials unless specially condoned by the artist is to be considered counterfeit and should not be acquired or exhibited as works of art.

    These forgeries could not even be sold in museum gift shops because they would violate their professional practices.

    Gary Arseneau
    artist, creator of original lithographs & scholar
    Fernandina Beach, Florida

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