Things to do in New Orleans – Visit the Degas House

Edgar Degas House

“Louisiana must be respected by all her children,…and I am almost one of them.”    
~Edgar Degas to Henri Rouart, 1872

One of New Orleans’ most famous temporary residents was renowned impressionist Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas.  Following the American Civil War, at the age of 38, Degas, a Parisian by birth and the son of Celestine Musson De Gas a member of a prominent New Orleans Creole family, arrived for an extended stay in New Orleans in 1872.  Though suffering problems with his eyesight, his time in New Orleans would provide him with new subjects for his work, and result in the creation of 18 paintings referred to as his New Orleans Collection.



Of these, a depiction of various Musson-Degas family members in ‘A Cotton Office in New Orleans’ (1873)  was the first of Degas’ paintings to be sold to a museum (Museé des Beaux Arts de Pau).

Degas’ work, after his return to Paris, focused on his impressionistic, yet realistic view of dancers, as seen in his paintings The Dance Class, The Star (Dancer on Stage)  and his sculpture of the Little Dancer of Fourteen Years

His paintings, pastels, drawings and sculptures enhance the collections of art museums around the world, including NOMAthe Metropolitan Museum of Art in New YorkMusee d’Orsay in Paris, and the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia.

While in New Orleans, Edgar Degas lived with his mother’s family in the Musson family home, now known as the Degas House, on Esplanade Avenue.  Today, this home, which has been lovingly restored, reflects the residence, as it would have been during Degas’ stay.   During your visit to the historical home, join Degas’ great grandniece for a tour of the home or stay a few nights in the elegantly furnished family rooms. Due to poor eyesight and the bright New Orleans light, it was in this home that the renowned impressionist painted his New Orleans Collection.

Located at 2306 Esplanade Avenue, the Edgar Degas House is a short distance from the French Quarter and conveniently on the city bus route (standard bus fare, single trip: $1.25).

Read more about the life of the Degas and Musson families in New Orleans.   

See more of Degas’ art, courtesy of the Edgar Degas Organization.

Learn more about the Edgar Degas Foundation.

 See our post about Degas and NOMA!

Degas historical marker

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