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The Burrell Collection, Glasgow, continues to reach new audiences worldwide
Edgar Degas The Rehearsal c. 1874. The Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museums © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

GLASGOW.- The Rehearsal, (La Répétition), one of the indisputable iconic works by Edgar Degas, is making its final international appearance before returning home to be redisplayed at the Burrell Collection, Glasgow, as part of the museum’s £66 million transformation.

The work is currently on view as part of the acclaimed exhibition Degas at the Opéra at The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Paris Opéra's founding, the exhibition features approximately 100 of the artist's best-known and beloved paintings, pastels, drawings, prints, and sculpture.

The Rehearsal (1874), is an astonishingly modern composition which draws on the influence of Japanese prints and photography to create a bold yet serenely beautiful painting. The painting is considered by many as a manifesto for Degas’ fascination with the ballet, a subject he returned to again and again.

Shipping magnate Sir William Burrell (1861–1958) amassed one of the finest collections of Degas’ art in the world; comprising pastels, oils and drawings and encompassing every period of the artist’s career. The artworks form part of the Collection of nine thousand objects including tapestries, stained glass, sculpture, and paintings that Burrell gifted to the city of Glasgow in 1944.

Known as an artistic innovator, breaking new ground in his use of oil and pastels, Degas was known to have destroyed works to strictly control which artworks reached the public domain. Even after his death, works found in his studio were destroyed by his family to protect the artist’s reputation. This makes it all the more remarkable for Sir William Burrell to have acquired multiple pieces by the artist, collecting at a time when many of Degas’ work shocked the art world.

The National Gallery of Art, Washington, has hosted several exhibitions on Degas over the years however this is the first time that The Rehearsal has been on display in Washington DC.

The exhibition represents the final leg in the artwork’s journey before it returns home to the Burrell Collection, Glasgow, in readiness for its anticipated re-opening in Spring 2021. Only £900,000 is left to raise to ensure the completion of the estimated £66 million transformation of this iconic museum and its astonishing collection. Since a bill, approved by the Scottish Parliament in 2014, has allowed works from the Burrell to be loaned overseas, The Rehearsal has been seen by over 920,000 visitors in Melbourne, Houston, Marseilles, Fukuoka, Ehime, Tokyo, Shizuoka and Hiroshima. As well as increasing Glasgow’s status as home to one of the world’s finest Collections gifted by an individual to one city, the bill has allowed significant works from the Burrell Collection to be seen outside Great Britain for the first time alongside other key artworks.

Sir Angus Grossart, Chair of Burrell Renaissance, comments, “The superlative quality and range of works by Degas acquired by Sir William, clearly conferais this great collector’s passion and acumen. Our lending programme allows us to take these great works to major institutions across the world, reaffirming the Collection’s international status and engagement with top partners.”

The exhibition Degas at the Opéra is on view at The National Gallery of Art, Washington, from 1 March – 5 July 2020.

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