Edgar Degas
Beach at low tide (Plage à marée basse) 1869

Linking Landscapes 

Ideas for linking Degas’s pastel drawing Beach at low tide, (Plage à marée basse) with the work of other artists.

Idea One:

Edgar Degas, James McNeill Whistler and Eugène Delacroix

Degas was a fan of the work of James McNeill Whistler (1843-1903) and Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863). He collected work by both of these artists.

  • Follow the links below to view landscapes by both these artists. Compare these paintings with Degas’s pastel drawing Beach at low tide (Plage à marée basse),
  • Look closely at all three artworks. Let’s imagine that Degas had seen these artworks by Delacroix and Whistler. What qualities and/or techniques might Degas have admired in these paintings?
  • What similarities can you notice in the three different artworks?

Link: Sunset – Eugène Delacroix

Link: Harmony in Blue and Silver: Trouville – James McNeill Whistler

Idea Two:

Edgar Degas and Claude Monet

Although they were contemporaries who exhibited together, Claude Monet and Edgar Degas had different methods of working. Monet worked outside, en plein air, in front of his subject matter. Degas instead worked in his studio from memory. To quote Degas,

It is all very well to copy what one sees, but it is far better to draw what one now only sees in one’s memory. That is a transformation in which imagination collaborates with memory.

Compare and contrast Beach at low tide, (Plage à marée basse) 1869 with Monet’s Rough weather at Étretat, (Gros Temps à Étretat) 1883.

  • Think about the different ways the two artists worked and explore how these working methods have influenced the aesthetic qualities of the different artworks.
  • What similarities and differences can you find?

Rough weather at Étretat
(Gros Temps à Étretat)
Claude MONET

Idea Three:

Edgar Degas and Fred Williams

Compare Beach at low tide, (Plage à marée basse) 1869 with  landscapes by Australian artist Fred Williams in the NGV Collection such as Lysterfield Landscape 1969 or After Bushfire (3) 1968. Notice how both artists have created a feel for the expanse of their landscapes.  See how they have also used gestural abstract dots and dashes to create the forms and figures.

Lysterfield landscape

After bushfire (3)

Visit the exhibition page for Degas: A New Vision to learn more about the artist and exhibition themes, to view an interactive timeline, to see key works from the exhibition, and to download exhibition labels.