There was more to Impressionist painter Edgar Degas’ interests than dancers. For one thing, the habitually well-dressed artist was fascinated by hats, and by the women who made them. The St. Louis Art Museum will explore that in a groundbreaking exhibition, “Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade.”
The show will include 60 Impressionist paintings and pastels, focusing particularly on pieces by Degas, many new to the United States, along with works by Mary Cassatt, Édouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and a special bonus: a display of 40 fancy period hats.
Degas’ fascination with the millinery trade has never really been explored, although there were about 1,000 workers in that trade in Paris, as amply reflected in his oeuvre. The exhibition, which will feature Degas’ “The Milliners,” acquired by SLAM in 2007, will look at the business from 1875 to 1914 through the eyes of the Impressionists.