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ID number:  BIRBI-50.2
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Degas, Hilaire-Germain-Edgar (1834-1917)
Title / Object name:  Jockeys before the race
Object type:  Painting
Culture:  French
Date made:  1878/79
Materials:  Oil, essence, gouache and pastel on paper
Measurements:  107.3 x 73.7 cm unframed; 138 x 105 x 9.5 cm framed
Provenance:  Purchased by Durand-Ruel, 1880; purchased by Charles Haviland, Paris; his sale 7 December 1922 (lot 42), purchased by Alexander Reid on commission for D. W. T. Cargill; sold via Reid & Lefèvre in 1950; Purchased from Alex. Reid & Lefèvre Ltd., in 1950 for £8,500.

Racing was a favourite theme of Degas and this is one of his largest pictures of the subject. Painted in 1878/9, it was exhibited in Paris at the 4th Impressionist Exhibition in 1879 and four years later in London (where it drew a satirical response from Punch). The unusual medium of oil thinned with turpentine (essence) was one of which Degas, a technical experimenter, was very fond. The low viewpoint, eccentric composition and spatial flatness may owe something to Japanese prints, much admired at this time.

Inscriptions / Translations:  Signed l.r.: Degas

Notes:  Exhibited: 'Fourth Impressionist Exhibition', Paris, France, 1879, cat. no. 63; 'Exhibition of works by members of the Société des Impressioniste', Messrs Dowdeswell, London, 1883, cat. no. 58; 'Masterpieces of French Art', Agnew's, London, UK, 1923, cat. no. 7; 'Works by Degas', Lefèvre Galleries, London, UK, 1928, cat. no. 13; 'Exhibition of French Art', Burlington House, London, UK, 1932, cat. no. 460; 'Degas', Orangerie, Paris, France, 1937, cat. no. 107; 'Degas', Lefèvre Galleries, London, UK, 1950, cat. no. 5; 'Degas 1879', National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK, 13 August 1979 - 30 September 1979, cat. no. 11; 'French Impressionism: Treasures from the Midlands', Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, UK, 07 June 1991 - 18 August 1991, pp. 22-3; 'Les Figures d'Elstir', Musee des Beaux Arts, Caen, France, 25 June 1993 - 30 August 1993; 'Art Treasures of England', Royal Academy, London, UK, 22 January 1998 - 13 April 1998, cat. no. 352; 'Degas, Sickert and Toulouse-Lautrec, London and Paris 1870-1910', Tate, London, UK, 05 January 2005 - 15 January 2006, cat. no. 19; 'Impressionism and Scotland', National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK, 19 July 2008 - 12 October 2008; 'Impressionism and Scotland', Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, UK, 31 October 2008 - 01 February 2009; 'Edgar Degas: Classicism and Experimentation', Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlesruhe, Germany, 8 November 2014 - 15 February 2015

1 Related People

Degas, Hilaire Germain Edgar

3 Related Publications

Degas, Sickert and Toulouse-Lautrec London and Paris 1870-1910
Gruetzner Robins, A. and Thomson, R.
Tate Publishing
Degas et son oeuvre
Lemoisne, P. A.

Degas: The Uncontested Master
Kinsman, Jane and Pantazzi, Michael

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