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May. 17, 2021 | Monday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Table legs missing in famous painting
"L'Absinthe," by Edgar Degas.

Dear editor:

I was surprised to find that Penny-Lynn Cookson in her detailed description of "L'Absinthe" by Degas (Eye for Art, April 22) did not mention the detail that I have always found the most intriguing about the painting: there are no table legs.

Below the table to the right, one sees two pairs of legs. Below the one to the left, which holds a carafe of water, there is nothing. It is as if the table is floating in air.

I first learned about this in an art history course that I took many a year ago.

Since then, whenever I have visited the Musée du Jeu de Paume in Paris, where Impressionist art was housed until 1986, or the Musee d'Orsay, where it is today, I make it a point to seek out "L'Absinthe."

The lack of table legs is very evident when viewing the 68- x 92-centimetre oil painting in person.

Elizabeth Masson