Edgar Degas frequently visited Normandy with friends. In 1869 he drew in pastel a handful of small landscapes of the coast. They are signed, which suggests they had meaning and importance to the artist, who frequently did not sign his ‘lesser’ works.
Here are a selection of those drawings. It’s not known if they were drawn from memory, or en plein air. Degas was said to have a horror of painting outside and may have created these images from memory. This could explain the lack of location detail, but does not explain the accuracy of those Normandy skies.
While these pictures may lack the drama of his horse racing paintings or the pretty charm of his famous ballerinas, they have a restful beauty that reflects the Normandy we know. Degas was blessed with a rare genius and we are very pleased he thought to record these timeless views of our favourite place in the world.