Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas was a French painter, often regarded as the founder of the Impressionism movement, although he saw himself more as a realist. His most famous paintings represent racecourses, ballerinas or nudes.
In 1908, an aged, and nearly blind Degas was at Le Lapin Agile in Paris, arguing with Pablo Picasso about the young artist's new styles. At the table next to them were Norman Rockwell and Indiana Jones, listening to their debate. Feeling that Picasso had talent but was going to ruin art, Degas left in a huff. Picasso boasted that he could outdo Degas at his own work - and then took the boys to his studio to watch him do it.
Several days later, Degas returned to the restaurant to find the art dealer, Kahnweiler, attempting to buy an unsigned Degas painting from Picasso. Kahnweiler impressed upon the maestro to sign the painting. Degas hinted to Indiana Jones that the painting did not smell like his usual pigments, a sign that perhaps Degas knew that the painting was not his. With Indy's help in steadying his aged hand to find the brush, Degas signed the piece.
Picasso then announced that he had painted the piece, tricking Degas into thinking it was one of his own. Rockwell and Jones insisted that it must be genuine and claimed not to have seen Picasso paint it. Jones managed to spare Degas from humiliation by shifting the con back to Picasso and selling Kahnweiler a signed "Picasso" sketch drawn by Rockwell. Degas helped to emphasize that the sketch really must have been by Picasso.
Behind the scenes
- The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles – "Paris, September 1908" → Passion for Life (First appearance)
- Masters of the Louvre