Degas became interested in genre painting in the early 1860s. The historical theme did not satisfy the artist and he began to search for his own subjects. After traveling to New Orleans, Degas painted "The Cotton Office in New Orleans" (1873). The painting is distinguished not only by its interesting composition and color, but also by its plot: the inner life of a business office. It is a vivid genre painting with precise portraits of characters.
Degas's inexhaustible source of inspiration was also the daily life of modern Paris: in theatres, cafes, laundries, sewing workshops. One of the most famous paintings by Degas was "Absinthe" (1876). It reflects the customs of the Parisian bohemia of that time. The painting was so criticized that it was excluded from exhibitions for 16 years. The hard life of urban workers was reflected in the paintings "Washerwomen" (1878) and "Ironers" (1882). The harsh realism of these works, and fatigue and hopelessness, well conveyed by the author, allow us to see Paris from a different angle.
Many themes became for Degas a passion throughout his creative life and laid the foundation for a series of genre paintings. Among them: opera and ballet, cafe-concerts, horse racing, bathers.
Sharp observation, interest in real life and the desire to capture it in some new and unusual way brought Degas closer to the impressionists. The artist actively used their innovative ideas, enriching his palette with bright and clean colours, but remained practically indifferent to the landscape painting which was the favorite genre of the Impressionists, and also never worked in the open air.
"At the Milliner's"
a Costume Ball"
"Madame Jeantaud in the Mirror"
"At the Cafe Ambassadeurs"
"Woman seated on the grass"