Art: An Impressionist Abroad

New Orleans through the eyes of Edgar Degas

There are thousands of paintings by French Impressionists in American collections, public and private; America's infatuation with Impressionism, which began more than a century ago, has never stopped. Yet only one member of the Impressionist group ever visited America, and it wasn't for artistic reasons. Edgar Degas (1834-1917) had relatives in New Orleans. His father Auguste De Gas--who, despite the "De" he affected, was not of noble blood--had married a French-Creole woman from New Orleans, Celestine Musson. She produced three sons and two daughters, of whom Edgar was the oldest. They were all raised in Paris, but both of Edgar's younger...

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