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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 May, 2005, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Degas headlines Tate exhibition
L'Absinthe by Edgar Degas. Courtesy: Tate Britain
Degas' L'Absinthe caused controversy when it was exhibited in London in 1893
The paintings of Edgar Degas, Walter Sickert and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec will be the focus of an exhibition at the Tate Britain gallery this autumn.

The show, which opens in October, will explore the creative dialogue between British and French painters in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Degas' L'Absinthe, of two lowly cafe drinkers, is the most famous painting among the 100 works to go on display.

Works by Bonnard, Vuillard and Whistler will also feature in the London show.

L'Absinthe has not been exhibited in London since the 1890s.

Much of Victorian society was outraged by the painting's humble subject matter when it was displayed in London in 1893.

But there were also fans. The Spectator proclaimed the canvas a masterpiece calling it "the inexhaustible picture, the one that draws you back, and back again".

Inspired artists

The Tate exhibition will be divided into three parts, with the first examining the work of Degas in the 1870s, along with his French and British followers.

The Clowness Cha-U-Kao Courtesy: Tate Britain
Toulouse-Lautrec's The Clowness Cha-U-Kao will be shown at the Tate

The second looks at the 1880s, when Degas had an impact on a group of younger British painters.

The exhibition ends with a look at Degas' and Toulouse-Lautrec's legacy, and Walter Sickert's increasing reputation in France.

It was during this period, in 1898, that Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec had the largest exhibition of his lifetime in London, although critics declared that the show had "bombed".

Works featured in the three-month show will be those which were exhibited at British galleries or hung in British collections, which may have influenced emerging artists.

Degas, Sickert and Toulouse-Lautrec: London and Paris 1870-1910 will run from 5 October until 15 January.

Q&A: Sir Nicholas Serota
11 May 05 |  Arts

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