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Four masterpieces by Degas, Paul Cezanne, Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet had been pilfered by masked raiders at the Buehrle Foundation museum in Switzerland.
Arguably, and not just because their features are illegible, this matters little, for what seems to interest Degas more is the evidently tense nature of the dialogue that consumes them, but keeps them resolutely apart.
Just as it is often said that Fred Astaire gave Ginger Rogers class and she gave him sex appeal, Degas's interest in Cassatt gave her sometimes cloying canvases an edge, while her interest in Degas made him seem like less of a boor; even male critics felt his work bordered on misogyny.
In the New York Times Magazine obituary, "Edgar Degas, Greatest Draftsman of His Century (10/7/1917)," the writer describes his prowess of line, "He could have disciplined the turbulent Tintoretto to the finer sense of contour, Leonardo would have not disdained the science of his modeling, his line ran like a hunting dog to its prey.
In choosing them, Degas neglected to include any drawings from his fertile student years, but instead began with five studies for the unfinished historical canvas, Semiramis Building Babylon, which remained in Degas' studio until his death in 1917.
National Museums Liverpool's curator of European Art, Xanthe Brooke, explained: "The reason we're so pleased and delighted to have La Masseuse is because it relates so closely to our only Degas painting.
The National Museum Wales was selected to receive one of the Degas sculptures, while the painting was left specifically to the National Gallery in London.
Freud, who was widely considered to be Britain's greatest living artist before his death in 2011, chose to donate four works of art, including three bronze sculptures by Degas and a painting by French artist Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, in lieu of PS2,340,000 of inheritance tax.
Degas, Garb argues, was concerned with capturing this social role of ballet dancers rather than their individual identities, which allowed him to recycle depictions of poses and settings across different canvasses.
An exhibition by French painter Edgar Degas opens this week at the Paris Orsay museum, with some 170 paintings, prints and sculptures focusing exclusively on female nudes.
Almost all of the top-priced works at Christie's auction of Impressionist and modern art failed to sell Tuesday as collectors did not respond to what turned out to be aggressively priced works by artists such as Degas, Picasso and Giacometti.
And somewhere in the audience, capturing the ballerina's every move in art, is one of the leading impressionists of his generation, Edgar Degas.