1

Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917; “The Millinery Shop”, 1879-1886; oil on canvas; 39 3/8 x 49 9/16 inches; The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection

ST. LOUIS—Best known for his depictions of Parisian dancers and laundresses, Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917) was enthralled with another aspect of life in the French capital—high-fashion hats and the women who created them. The artist, invariably well-dressed and behatted himself, “was not afraid to go into ecstasies in front of the milliners’ shops,” Paul Gauguin wrote of his lifelong friend.

Degas’ fascination inspired a visually compelling and profoundly modern body of work that documents the lives of what one fashion writer of the day called “the aristocracy of the workwomen of Paris, the most elegant and distinguished.” Yet despite the importance of millinery within Degas’s oeuvre, there has been little discussion of its place in Impressionist iconography.

2

 Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917; “The Milliners”, c.1898; oil canvas; 29 5/8 x 32 ¼ inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, Director’s Discretionary Fund; and a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur D. May, Dr. Ernest G. Stillman, Mr. and Mrs. Sydney M. Shoenberg Sr. and Mr. and Mrs. Sydney M. Shoenberg Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Irving Edison, and Harry Tenenbaum, bequest of Edward Mallinckrodt Sr., and gift of Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Levin, by exchange 25:2007

Next year the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will bring new light to the subject with the presentation of Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade, a groundbreaking exhibition featuring 60 Impressionist paintings and pastels, including key works by Degas—many never before exhibited in the United States—and those by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet, Mary Cassatt and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, as well as 40 exquisite examples of period hats.

Next year the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will bring new light to the subject with the presentation of Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade, a groundbreaking exhibition featuring 60 Impressionist paintings and pastels, including key works by Degas—many never before exhibited in the United States—and those by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet, Mary Cassatt and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, as well as 40 exquisite examples of period hats.

3

Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917; “Self-Portrait in the Soft Hat”, 1857; oil on paper mounted on canvas; 10 ¼ x 7 ½ inches; Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA

The exhibition will be the first to examine the height of the millinery trade in Paris, from around 1875 to 1914, as reflected in the work of the Impressionists. At this time there were around 1,000 milliners working in what was then considered the fashion capital of the world. The exhibition will open at the Saint Louis Art Museum on Feb. 12, 2017 and at SMax Holleinan Francisco’s Legion of Honor on June 24, 2017.

This exhibition underlines the many facets of our extensive collection, which comprises not only extraordinary paintings and drawings of French Impressionism but also exquisite hats of the same period,¨ says , Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “The show presents a highly important part of Degas’ work in its extraordinary artistic but also social and historical context. It will be a revelation for many!”

4

Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917; “At the Milliner (Chez la Modiste)”, ca. 1882-85; oil on canvas; 24 1/4 x 29 inches; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Collection of Mr. And Mrs. Paul Mellon; Photo: Travis Fullerton © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Works from the collections of the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will be supplemented by loans from international lenders.

The exhibition is curated by Simon Kelly, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum and Esther Bell, curator in charge of European paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

5

Mary Cassatt, American, 1844-1926; “Young Woman in Black (Portrait of Madame J)”, 1883; oil on canvas; 31 1/2 x 25 inches; Collection of the Maryland State Archives: The Peabody Art Collection

The exhibition is curated by Simon Kelly, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum and Esther Bell, curator in charge of European paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 

The exhibition will be on view at the Saint Louis Art Museum from Feb. 12 through May 7, 2017 and then go to the Legion of Honor from June 24 to Sept. 24, 2017. In St. Louis, exhibition admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and students, and $6 for children 6-12. The exhibition is free for museum members, children 5 and under, and everyone on Fridays.

6

Berthe Morisot, French, 1841-1895; “Young Girl on the Grass, Mlle Isabelle Lambert”, 1885; oil canvas; 29 1/8 x 23 5/8 inches; Ordrupgaard Museum

7

Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec, French, 1864-1917; “M. Delaporte at the Jardin de Paris”, c. 1893; gauache on cardboard, glued to wood; 29 15/16 x 27 9/16 inches; Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen. Photo: Ole Haupt

8

Mme Georgette, French; “Woman’s Hat”, c. 1910; black lace and artificial flowers on wire frame; 20 x 11 ¾ inches; courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

9

“Woman’s Hat”, c. 1910; French; straw with ostrich feathers, silk lace and artificial flowers; courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art