Degas was a bad dinner guest

Went to the Morgan Library in NYC a while back.
To see an exhibit of Maurice Sendak’s working sketches for Where The Wild Things Are.
After staring at that totally awesome exhibit for, like, ever, I wandered off into a gallery that I think was called Random Stuff From Our Permanent Collection.
And saw something so kick-ass, you guys.
It was a Degas sketchbook, but it didn’t actually belong to Degas. It belonged to a dude who would invite Degas to dinner parties. Where apparently Degas would get all shy and refuse to engage in conversation with the other guests and would instead doodle on scraps of paper.
So the party host dude was finally like, ‘Look, Degas. You’re a great guy, but if you’re gonna keep up this whole mopey teenager thing you’ve got going on, and be a totally sucky guest all the time, for pete’s sake at least draw your doodles on good paper. Here, I got you this book. Draw in it. No, you can’t take it home, it belongs to me. Here’s a pencil, get on it.
So over years of being a bad guest at dinner parties, Degas filled the book. And later, it was donated to The Morgan.
The page it was open to the day I saw it had a ballerina and, like, a dinner roll or some such.
Love love love it.
Btw, the Morgan Library is pretty great. If you are any kind of art/book/architecture nerd, go have a look. There is any entry fee, but I remember thinking it was reasonable, and they give you one of those cool metal badge-thingies you can clip onto your lapel and then strangers think you’re all cultural and stuff.
Speaking of strangers, the Adult Beginner walks quickly and with a scowl when in NYC, which causes mid-westerners to assume I’m a native. And ask me for directions. Which I give. Sometimes they are correct, sometimes…meh.
That’s what you get for not popping into any one of the million bodegas or news stands and picking up a map.
And how can I tell they are mid-western? Because they’re fat. And wearing sweatpants in public.
Oh burn! Did I just say that?
Snappity snap!


About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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4 Responses to Degas was a bad dinner guest

  1. robin (mahrobi) says:

    fascinating! i might have to check that out :)

  2. Acacia says:

    I am trapped amongst the very midwesterners you describe! The sketchbook sounds amazing (though I’m not a fan of Degas with all the anti-semitism and stuff). I do love his ballerinas because he only makes them glamorous when they are on stage. When they are in class they are just working-class girls.

    I’ve just started ballet classes at 43. I have a little blog at that you can visit if you want. Or not..

    • Yes! Love also that the Degas ballerinas look Solid. Like, those ladies will do some ballet, and then, like, look menacing in a dark alley or something. You do not want to mess with some Degas ballerinas.

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