The first major retrospective exhibition in 50 years of the work of Edgar Degas (1834-1917) will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Oct. 11, 1988-Jan. 8, 1989.

"Degas" will include paintings, pastels, drawings, monotypes, prints, photographs and sculpture representing every aspect of the career of the versatile artist.The museum says, "Degas' lively depictions of racetrack scenes and jockeys, his ballet pictures and his series of laundresses, milliners, brothel scenes, landscapes and bathers will all be represented."

The exhibition first opened at the Grand Palais in Paris and then traveled to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

In other news, the Sherman Fairchild Foundation Inc. has given the Metropolitan Museum of Art $1.5 million to endow a chair in the Department of Paintings Conservation.

The first recipient is John M. Brealey, chairman of the department. His position will now be known as the Sherman Fairchild Chairman of Paintings Conservation.