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Core Record

Title Jockeys before the Race
Original Translation Jockeys avant la course
Collection Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham
Artist Degas, Edgar (French painter, sculptor, 1834-1917)
Date Earliest 1878
Date Latest 1879
Signed yes

Degas' racing pictures generally concentrate on the undramatic moments before the start. Here, the starting-post bisects the composition, creating an instantaneous effect, suggestive of a snapshot. Figures and horses are obscured, cut by the frame and shown with the random feel of a fleeting glimpse.

The unconventional composition is matched by an experimental technique mixing oil, bodycolour, pastel and essence (oil thinned with turpentine). The overall lack of finish, with some quite accidental areas, challenged accepted conventions when the painting was shown at the Fourth Impressionist Exhibition.

Current Accession Number 50.2
Inscription front lr 'Degas'
Subject animal; figures
Measurements 107.3 x 73.7 cm
Material oil, essence, gouache and pastel on paper
Acquisition Details Purchased from Alex. Reid & Lefèvre Ltd. 1950 for 8,500.
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.
Principal Exhibitions Fourth Impressionist Exhibition, Paris, 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, 1923, cat. no. 7; Works by Degas, Lefèvre Galleries, London, 1928, cat. no. 13; Exhibition of French Art, Burlington House, London, 1932, cat. no. 460; Degas, Orangerie, Paris, 1937, cat. no. 107; Degas, Lefèvre Galleries, London, 1950, cat. no. 5; Degas 1879, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1979, cat. no. 11; French Impressionism: Treasures from the Midlands, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, 1991, pp. 22-3; Art Treasures of England, Royal Academy, London, 1998, cat. no. 352; Degas, Sickert and Toulouse-Lautrec, London and Paris 1870-1910, Tate, London, 2005, cat. no. 19; Degas, the uncontested master, National Gallery of Australia, 2008.
Publications Lemoisne, P. A., Degas et son oeuvre, Paris, 1946, no. 649; Catalogue of the paintings, drawings and miniatures in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Cambridge, 1952, p. 30-31; Sutton, D., 'Degas: Master of the Horse', Apollo, April 1984, p. 293; Meller, M. K., 'Exercises in and around Degas' classrooms: Part III', The Burlington Magazine, July 1993, vol. 135, no. 1084, pp.454-5; Verdi, R., The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, London, 2005 rev. ed., p. 96.
Rights Owner The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham
Author Dr Nicola Gauld/Barber Institute



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