Four Jockeys on Horseback, ca. 1868, reworked ca. 1878
Stamped at lower left in red ink, Degas.
This sheet provides an exceptional example of how Degas worked, reworked, and revised a particular scene over a span of years. Drawn on tracing paper, these studies were originally made in 1868 in connection with the painting Racecourse Scene (Weil Brothers-Cotton Inc., Montgomery, Alabama). Degas revisited the composition—and this sheet—a decade later in preparation for the painting Jockeys Before the Start (Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham, England). In reworking the composition, he focused his attention, and his pencil, on the horse and rider at center, which are prominent in the Birmingham painting.