On Friday, 29 July, a pleasingly large section of the AFTV membership had the opportunity to gain some significant insight into the world of Edgar Degas, as revealed in the NGV’s 2016 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces Exhibition and extended further by the erudite and charmingly entertaining presentation by Dr Ted Gott, Senior Curator International Art.

Ted’s talk, a mixture of French and English enhanced by the power of PowerPoint technology, was highlighted by his use of an ‘epistolary’ approach in which he read out, in French, extracts from letters to illustrate various aspects of Degas’ life and artistic career. In this way much was revealed about the Parisian artist and Ted’s listeners later enjoyed the Exhibition armed with knowledge which extended beyond that of Degas as the painter of elegant ballerina compositions for which he is more generally known.

Prior to Ted’s revelations concerning Degas, participants gathered in the NGV Education Centre’s large classroom which had been beautifully adorned by enlarged murals of some of Degas’ ballerina images. Here, delicacies and drinks supplied by the NGV’s Peter Rowland Catering, suitably prepared AFTV participants and guests to be receptive to, and appreciative of, Ted’s sometimes surprising disclosures. Well fortified, they proceeded to the adjacent Lecture Theatre for Ted’s presentation to add to the combined senses of occasion and of meaningful professionalism.

Due to the NGV’s Friday Nights program, the AFTV could no longer, as had been the case in the past, have the Exhibition all to itself, having to share its viewing with the general public. Fears of being ‘crowded out’ turned out to be baseless and all had the opportunity, without hindrance, to view the Degas works on display.

Both the AFTV Committee and the Special Events Sub-Committee wish to extend their appreciative thanks to the NGV Education staff for the careful attention to details and assistance given in arranging this event. Very special thanks go to Ted Gott who has always been open to sharing his not inconsiderable experience and knowledge with the Association – it has always been a pleasure to hear him speak as part of the professional development aspirations it has for its members.

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