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Exhibitions | Past

Degas, Miss La La, and the Cirque Fernando
February 15 through May 12, 2013


Edgar Degas (1834–1917)
Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando, 1879
Oil on canvas, 117.2 x 77.5 cm.
Bought, 1925 (NG4121)
National Gallery, London, Great Britain
© National Gallery, London / Art Resource, NY

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For several successive evenings in January 1879, Edgar Degas (1834–1917) attended performances at the Cirque Fernando by one of the most famous circus performers of his time, an aerialist known as Miss La La. For her extraordinary act, Miss La La was slowly hoisted nearly seventy feet into the circus's domed roof, suspended solely from a rope clenched between her teeth.

Degas produced a number of studies of the performer and the circus building—drawings, pastels, and an oil sketch—before creating his celebrated painting, Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando. The exhibition brings together for the first time Degas's remarkable painting, on loan from the National Gallery, London, and nearly all of the related preparatory works. Also on view will be images of the Cirque Fernando by Degas's contemporaries, photographs of Miss La La and her troupe, and posters and other printed material.

Lead funding for Degas, Miss La La, and the Cirque Fernando is provided by Karen H. Bechtel and by a grant from The Florence Gould Foundation. Further generous support is provided by the Alex Gordon Fund for Exhibitions and the Franklin Jasper Walls Lecture Fund.

Related Programs:

Lecture
Degas, Miss La La, and the Cirque Fernando
Tuesday, February 19, 6:30 p.m.

Film
The Show Must Go On
Friday, February 22, 7 p.m.

Gallery Talk
Degas, Miss La La, and the Cirque Fernando
Friday, March 1, 7 p.m.

Tours
Stroller Tour
Wednesday, March 6, 10:30 a.m.

Between the Lines
Saturday, April 7, 11 a.m.

Family Program
Itsy Bitsy Big Top: Build a Mini Circus
Saturday, March 9, 2-4 p.m.

Spring Family Fair: Join the Circus!
Sunday, April 28, 2-5 p.m.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.