Author(s): Esther Bell
Though best known for his depictions of dancers and bathers, Edgar Degas repeatedly returned to the subject of millinery over the course of three decades. In masterpieces such as The Millinery Shop (1879-86) and The Milliners (ca. 1898), he captured scenes of milliners fashioning and women wearing elaborate, colorful hats. Featuring sumptuous paintings, pastels, and preparatory drawings by Degas, Cassatt, Manet, Renoir, and Toulouse-Lautrec, among others, this generously illustrated book surveys the millinery industry of 19th-century Paris. Peppered throughout with photographs, posters, and prints of French hats, this book includes essays that explore Degas's particular interest in the millinery trade; the tension between modern fashion and reverence for history and the grand art-historical tradition; a chronicle of Parisian milliners from Caroline Reboux to Coco Chanel; and examples of how the millinery trade is depicted in literature. Brilliantly linking together the worlds of industry, art, and fashion, this groundbreaking book examines the fundamental role of hats and hat-makers in 19th-century culture.Published in association with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
SIMON KELLY is Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Saint Louis Art Museum. ESTHER BELL is Curator in Charge of European Paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.