Lot 2
  • 2

EDGAR DEGAS | Jockey

Estimate
200,000 - 300,000 EUR
Sold
513,000 EUR
bidding is closed

Description

  • Edgar Degas
  • Jockey
  • stamped Degas (lower left)
  • pastel and charcoal on paper

Provenance

Sale: Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, Atelier Edgar Degas, 3ème vente, April 7-9, 1919, no. 43-2
Ambroise Vollard, Paris
Philippe Bemberg, Paris & Lausanne
Thence by descent to the present owner

Exhibited

Paris, Galerie A. Weil, Degas, Peintre du mouvement, 1939, no. 41

Literature

Paul-André Lemoisne, Degas et son oeuvre, vol. II, Paris, 1946, no. 670, illustrated p.  377

Catalogue Note

A passionate observer of modern life, fascinated by various social performances and rituals, Degas developed the two major themes of dancers and horseraces during his career. Well before the publication in 1878 of Edward Muybridge's photographs detailing the movements of a horse, Degas spent much of his time from 1861 at his friend Paul Valpinçon's house at Ménil-Hubert in Normandy, near the Haras du Pin racecourse. Here he made a number of sketches and drawings in sketchbooks which were to serve his oil and pastel compositions later.

By painting horse races, Degas consciously placed himself in the tradition of great equestrian painting and particularly in the line of Théodore Géricault, Eugène Delacroix and Alfred de Dreux as well as his impressionist friends Edouard Manet and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. It was moreover on the impetus of the latter that Degas quickly moved beyond naturalism and the academic treatment of the equestrian subject to explore the new perspectives offered by the impressionist movement of which he would become one of the leading figures.

As this beautiful pastel of a jockey reveals, Degas, as early as the 1880s, sought a new approach and his treatment of subject underwent a radical change. Here he is interested more in the informal moments before or after a race. The artist unifies chalk lines with a deep pastel blue and due to an innovative use of frame; the Jockey is thrown into the foreground, transforming the scene into a surprising composition. This captivating sheet of paper has kept all its freshness, and was kept for years in a prestigious collection that has not been seen by the public for 70 years.
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