Van Dongen established himself as a mainstay of the aristocratic beau-monde,
with a reputation for enjoying night life, cabarets and the leisure activities of the wealthy. He visited Italy, Spain, Morocco and the South of France, where he fully immersed himself in the favorite pastimes of the upper class. As one journalist quipped, “In van Dongen's work we find everything that lives, sparkles and is luxurious" (quoted in All Eyes on van Dongen
(exhibition catalogue), Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2010-11, p. 155). Van Dongen's affinity for brilliant color and swift movement were ideally suited to polo and the races. Taking on a sporting subject favored by nineteenth-century painters, van Dongen presents his Fauve palette at its richest in the present work, combining burnished yellows, pale greens and pinks.
The present work appears in the 1962 film Kees Van Dongen et la France, an interview with the artist that includes close ups of many of his paintings (see https://www.ina.fr/video/I18030945/kees-van-dongen-et-la-france-video.html).