This morning I headed to the art museum for Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade, a remarkable exhibit examining Degas’ study of millinery production in Paris. While he was famous for his dancer subjects, high-fashion hats and the women who made them were the focus of a lessor-known period in his career. This exhibit is the first of its kind, pulling together actual hats, paintings and pastels from all over the world, including some of Degas’ works that have never been viewed in the United States.
Other featured impressionists in the exhibit include Édouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Mary Cassatt, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrecs, as well as hats created by Caroline Reboux, Madame Georgette, and Jeanne Lanvin.
And it was everything I’d hoped it would be.
One of my favorite aspects of the exhibit is that it reunites pastel studies with the final paintings for the first time. I was surprised that I actually preferred his pastels to his paintings.
He even dons a hat in his self-portrait.
And then there were the hats.
Oh, the hats.
The feathers, the flowers, the ribbons.
Some hats are on loan from the Louvre.
The exhibit is housed here through the beginning of May, then it heads to San Francisco.
And then that’s it. All of the pieces go back to their respective homes.
So this is a pretty special event. In fact, CBS Sunday Morning did a package on it.
I’m feeling pretty lucky.