Edgar Degas

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Edgar Degas
Landscape with Path Leading to a Copse of Trees
ca. 1890
Pastel and oil paint over monotype in oil paint on laid paper.
10 5/8 x 14 1/8 inches (271 x 358 mm)
Thaw Collection.

Degas explored the landscape through drawings, prints, and works combining media. The artist's monotypes, made by drawing in ink or paint directly on a zinc or copper plate and printing between one and three unique impressions on paper, were often enhanced with pastels, creating a hybrid print enhanced by drawing.
Degas made this landscape on a visit to the painter and printmaker Georges Jeanniot (1846-1934) in the village of Diénay near Dijon. He traveled with his friend Paul-Albert Bartholomé in a carriage through the Burgundy countryside. While there, Degas recalled scenery from the drive and produced about fifty monotype landscapes, most with a high horizon, given the region's hilly terrain; approximately three dozen were then worked up in pastel. These works are a product of memory, and the process yielded vague and sometimes near-abstract compositions. To create the present work, Degas used oil paint (applied with his fingers) to indicate a few lines of the landscape on the plate and printed one or two proofs, hanging them up to dry. Later, he completed the composition with a rich layer of pastel, worked wet and dry, with further touches of oil paint.
A white path leads through a vivid green ground in a slow upward diagonal from left to right. The path passes a copse of trees at the top of a hill. It is one of a pair of monotypes that Degas presented to the publisher Georges Charpentier, a champion of Zola and of the Impressionists. The other gift, Landscape by the Sea, now in the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Neuchâtel, contrasts sharply with the Thaw landscape's restrained use of color, effective nonetheless in its suggestion of atmosphere.


Signed and inscribed in charcoal at lower right, “à M. Charpentier / Degas.” Numbered on reverse of board, in blue chalk, “D8315.”

Gift of the artist to Georges Charpentier (1846-1905), Paris; Ambroise Vollard (1867-1939), Paris, by ca. 1905; Galerie Paul Pétridès, Paris; private collection, Tokyo; Stephen Ongpin Fine Art, London; from whom acquired in 2008 by Eugene V. (1927-2018) and Clare E. (1924-2017) Thaw, New York.
Associated names: 

Charpentier, Georges, former owner.
Vollard, Ambroise, 1867-1939, former owner.
Thaw, Eugene Victor, former owner.
Thaw, Clare, former owner.


The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY, "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection", 2017. Exh. cat., no. 89, repr.
The Thaw collection of master drawings : acquisitions since 2002. New York : Morgan Library & Museum, 2009, no. 44, repr.
Hauptman, Jodi, Degas, Edgar, Armstrong, Carol M., and Museum of Modern Art , Host Institution. Degas : A Strange New Beauty / Jody Hauptman ; with Essays by Carol Armstrong [and 11 Others]. 2016.

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