Did you know that Edgar Degas spent some time in New Orleans?
He did. You can visit The Degas House at 2306 Esplanade Avenue. It is worth a trip if you are in NOLA. They have a bed and breakfast and can also host ceremonies and receptions. The NOLA Degas House is the only home of Degas anywhere in the world that is open to the public.
Here's Chapter 1 of Degas in New Orleans: Encounters in the Creole World of Kate Chopin and George Washington Cable by Christopher Benfey. It is a quick little read and does make me want to read the book. This chapter talks about how Degas visited New Orleans in 1872 to visit the American branch of his family. Apparently, the journey marked a key point in his career because he achieved a new sense of direction and some unforgettable images for his portfolio. His time in NOLA was also a contentious period in the political history of the city, Reconstruction. The city fell under Federal control and was under constant threat of military occupation. Degas' relatives were among some of the political leaders of this time in the city. Culturally, it was also a key moment in NOLA's history. Several major American writers and other artists were beginning to tap the exotic resources of the city. They often chose the same subjects and ran in the same social circles as Degas.
|Here is a photo from across the street.|
|I just always love when the sunlight does this in a photograph.|
|If I understood correctly, there are two buildings. There is a sort of breezeway between them. You can see that in this photograph. These two structures used to be one building.|
|Inside the first building.|
|Inside first building. That is the family tree behind the tour guide who is speaking to us.|
|She is talking about Degas' Cotton Buyer or Cotton Merchants in New Orleans, and how he completely changed his style while in NOLA. This is a reproduction. The original is in Harvard Art Museum's Collection.|
|Between the two buildings.|
|This is the set up of the room where Degas spent his five months.|
|Another photo of the room.|
|I was really fascinated with this tile. I believe they said it was the original flooring.|
|Another photo of the room. They host resident artists here. I believe that is what this was supposed to represent.|
|It was a beautiful place to visit.|