Wednesday February 22, 2012 | 09:52 PM

More than 200 members of the Portland Museum of Art turned out tonight for the opening reception of "Edgar Degas: The Private Impressionist." The show, which officially opens to the public tomorrow and remains on view through May 28, serves up 112 works by the French master paired with a series of works by his contemporaries and a handful of works by Degas from the PMA's permanent collection and on loan from local collectors. Aside from the works added by the PMA, the show consists of works collected over a period of 40 years by Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco curator Robert Flynn Johnson, who was at the party.

At the podium in the above photo is Bob Moore, CEO of the Dead River Company, which is one of the show's sponsors. To his right stand museum Director Mark Bessire and Tom Whelan, president of Bath Savings Institution, which also sponsored the show.


Down in the glass gallery, the party featured drinks and a lovely display of appetizers by Aurora Provisions, which runs the museum's new and improved cafe.


Since I was wearing a press pass tonight, I had the rare privilege of photographing inside the galleries. Here's a view inside the first gallery in the main floor exhibition space. The work on the far right is a drawing by Degas called "Mlle Dembowska," and it's also featured on the cover of the show's catalog.

Because Degas is known for his depictions of ballet dancers, the museum will host a special event tomorrow, Feb. 23, with dancers from the Maine State Ballet. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. anyone is welcome to sketch the dancers in the galleries. The event is free with museum admission.

Be sure to pick up the Feb. 26 edition of the Maine Sunday Telegram where I'll have additional photos (including more from inside the galleries) and details about what the collector and others had to say.

Until then, I hope to see you out and about.

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Avery Yale Kamila dishes about southern Maine's hottest parties.

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