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Landscape with Smokestacks

A work made of pastel, over monotype, on textured cream wove paper, edge-mounted on board.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of pastel, over monotype, on textured cream wove paper, edge-mounted on board.


c. 1890


Edgar Degas
French, 1834-1917

About this artwork

Degas is best known for his images of the ballet and other scenes from modern urban life. However, periodically he explored the landscape genre, with a trip in 1869 to the Normandy Coast, for example, that resulted in a number of pastel landscapes. During the peak years of Impressionism-the 1870s and 1880s, when landscape reigned supreme among France’s avant-garde-Degas was notoriously averse to the practice of open-air landscape painting. Yet in the 1890s, he produced several groups of landscapes, combining observation and invention in various ways. The artist’s renewed interest was prompted by a trip he took he took through Burgundy in 1890 that inspired him to treat its landscape using the technique of monotype. A monotype is made by painting or drawing an image in greasy printer ‘s ink on a metal plate and then printing the plate onto a sheet of paper. Only one strong impression can usually be pulled from the plate; on occasion, a second, paler impression known as a monotype cognate can be pulled as well. Degas sometimes completed pastels over monotypes or monotype, cognates, as in Landscape with Smokestacks. He pioneered this technique in the 1870s. He began some of his monotypes on the spot, while others-possibly Landscape with Smokestacks-were recollections. Certainly, Degas’s aim in such compositions was quite different from his colleague Claude Monet’s preoccupation with changing atmospheric effects. While rooted in experience, Degas’s landscapes of memory are brooding and mysterious.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas


Landscape with Smokestacks


France (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Pastel, over monotype, on textured cream wove paper, edge-mounted on board


Stamped with estate stamp, lower left, in red ink


31.7 × 41.6 cm (12 1/2 × 16 7/16 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased from the collection of Friedrich and Louise Gutmann, and gift of Daniel C. Searle

Reference Number


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