by Scholes, Robert
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Degas, (Hilaire-Germain-) Edgar (1834 - 1917)
He was born to a wealthy family in Paris where he lived all his life, becoming a major figure among the impressionist and post-impressionist painters. Though he did some outdoor work, especially painting horses and jockeys, he was more interested in urban scenes and interiors, following the members of the elite Jockey Club in their pursuit of ballerinas at the French Opera. But his work included paintings of ordinary working women as well as dancers and prostitutes. The English urban painters of the Camden Town School, for example, admired Degas and followed his lead to some extent. for these reasons he is sometimes classified as a "realist/impressionist." His work was important to the early Picasso and Matisse as well, and the crowds continue to flock around his paintings and sculptures in art museums. He is a major figure in modern art.