Phyllis Tuchman reviews Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, on view through July 24, 2016.
Tuchman asks: "... was Degas more interested in making works that verged on abstraction or in communicating something more temporal and spatial, say, the swooshing of time and place passing? Once we raise this question, we need to consider whether we’ve transformed Degas into a reluctant modernist. After all, our eyes have been conditioned to look at his art in ways that are different than those experienced by his contemporaries. This is clear in the closing section of the show, which has a splendid selection of late oil paintings, pastels, and charcoal drawings. You see that the artist was extending the parameters of realism rather than pursuing the conventions of Impressionism."