What Degas saw
exhibition level 0 free entrance

March 18 > August 27, 2017

a book, an exhibition, workshops and special events

18 March > 27 August 2017

by FATATRAC and the Art Workshop

based on an original ideal by the MoMA-Museum of Modern Art

What Degas saw exhibition level 0 free entrance18 March__27 August 2017

“From the window of the moving tram the faces of the passsers-by looked blurred.

Degas realised that modern life was on the move”


From 18 March to 27 August 2017, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni will be hosting an exhibition in its Spazio Fontana on What Degas saw, a new illustrated album by Samantha Friedman and Cristina Pieropan on the French artist Edgar Degas, written to tie in with the exhibition entitled Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty and published this year by MoMA – FATATRAC in the wake of the popular Matisse's Garden and Little Charlotte the Filmmaker.


The Palazzo delle Esposizioni's Art Workshop, using the collection of the Art Bookshelf, a library specialising in international art publishing for children, is the perfect setting to host the work of the book's illustrator, Cristina Pieropan. In addition to the original plates that go to make up the book, the exhibition will also be showcasing sketches and rough drafts, zinc plates and a series of etchings with printing proofs accompanying us on our journey of discovery as we explore the techniques of engraving and etching. The full-immersion layout will plunge us back into the atmosphere of fin de siècle Paris, showing how the idea for the book gradually began to take shape in Cristina's skilled hands.

In the book Degas's work is interpreted with sensitivity in the text written by MoMA Curator Samantha Friedman and in Cristina's elegant engravings, telling the story, page by page, of the master's transition from his initial phase, so strongly imbued with classicism, to the style that was later to make him an unquestioned celebrity thanks to the attentive gaze with which he observed people, from ironers and the crowds at the horse races to the ballerinas at the Opera.


The exhibition is accompanied by a rich programme of workshops that lead schools and families through the streets and into the houses of fin de siècle Paris. Tours of the exhibition and workshops explore the techniques of engraving and the functioning of calcographic machinery works, from the press and the burin to the gouges on display in the exhibition.


Spazio Fontana - Palazzo delle Esposizioni

Via Milano 13 - Rome

Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10.00 am to 8.00 pm

Friday and Saturday from 10.00 am to 10.30 pm

Monday closed

Summer opening hours from 18 July to 27 August
Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday from 12:00pm to 8:00pm
Saturday from 12:00pm to 11:00pm - Closed on Monday

WHAT DEGAS SAW  | The exhibition design
WHAT DEGAS SAW  | The exhibition design
Edgar Degas (1834–1917) Painter, draughtsman, printer and sculptor. Considered one of the leading exponents of Impressionism, he actually preferred calling himself a realist because he based his work on the direct observation of daily life. In the 1870s he began to paint scenes of daily life in the modern capital. These new subjects called for new techniques such as monotype and photography.

Samantha Friedman is an assistant curator at the MoMA in New York. She has recently curated the Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, Van Gogh, Dalí and Beyond: The World Reimagined exhibition and many other prestigious exhibitions. She has written the albums Matisse's Garden and In Degas's Day as well as a number of essays and entries for MoMA catalogues.

Cristina Pieropan is a free-lance creative artist and illustrator. She has published over twenty illustrated albums, her preferred tool being calcography (etching, aquatinta, soft ground and linoleography) which she then watercolours.
She has shown her work in Italy and abroad. She cooperates with museums, art galleries, libraries and bookshops, holding courses and organising creative workshops. One of her etchings is in the Royal Collection in Buckingham Palace, in London. The book Tu grimpes drôlement bien aux arbres! published by Editions Notari was shortlisted among the best 200 such works in the world by IYL, White Ravens, Frankfurt 2016. In April 2017 she is due to receive a prize in the United Arab Emirates for her book La bambina che ascoltava gli alberi published by Edizioni Corsare. She has published for the MoMA-Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Royal Collection Trust, Buckingham Palace, London; Editions Notari, Geneva; Rizzoli; Salani and many other publishing houses both in Italy and abroad.