NEW EXHIBITION AT THE MORGAN LIBRARY & MUSEUM EXAMINES THE STORY BEHIND EDGAR DEGAS’S GREAT PAINTING, MISS LA LA AT THE CIRQUE FERNANDO
For several successive evenings in January 1879 Edgar Degas (1834–1917) attended performances by a famous aerialist known as Miss La La at Paris’s Cirque Fernando. Riveted by what he saw, Degas would immortalize her breathtaking act—she was hoisted to the circus’s seventy-foot ceiling by a rope clenched between her teeth—in his painting, Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando. The work was first shown at the Fourth Impressionist Exhibition in Paris in 1879, and was immediately championed for its unusual subject matter and boldness of composition.
Beginning February 15, the story behind this remarkable work will be told in depth for the first time when The Morgan Library & Museum presents Degas, Miss La La, and the Cirque Fernando. The exhibition brings together Degas’s painting, on loan from the National Gallery in London, and a rich array of related material, including preparatory drawing pastels, an oil sketch, and a print by the artist. Also on view will be three works by other painters of the period depicting scenes at the Cirque Fernando, as well as books, lithographs, photographs, prints, and circus programs that provide a more complete picture of Miss La La and her troupe.