Degas: Passion for Perfection takes you from a superb exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, to the streets of Paris. With exclusive access to rare works, the film tells the fascinating story of Edgar Degas’s pursuit for perfection through both experimentation with new techniques and lessons learned from studying the past masters.

Sometimes frustrated by his own failings, Degas (1834–1917) was consumed by obsessive principles and failing eyesight, but his determination to capture everyday life was evident in every mark he made. Never fully satisfied, Degas kept many of his drawings and sculptures in private during his lifetime. But now, through close examination, they can be seen as some of the most beautifully detailed and expressive works in the modern era.

Using written accounts by friends and commentators, and readings of letters written by Degas, this film reveals a more-complex truth behind one of the most influential French artists of the late 19th century and serves as an exploration of the complex workings of Degas’s artistic mind.

Following the January 12 screening, stick around for a gallery concert by Carlos Lopez and John Cornelius II. The performance is free with Museum admission!

► Plan ahead for your visit with parking information.

David Bickerstaff
Running Time
90 minutes
Digital, Color