Edgar Degas (1834–1917) Racehorse, 1878
Charcoal, with stumping, on light brown paper
12 3/4 x 8 1/16 inches (324 x 205 mm) Stamped at lower left corner, in red, Degas
Thaw Collection; EVT 275
This richly worked study was produced in 1878, when Degas chose to revisit an earlier composition (see the sheet Four Jockeys) for a new painting depicting jockeys gathering by the starting pole. He delineated the horse's form, smearing the charcoal to model the thoroughbred's muscular body. Degas' interest in horses and racetrack scenes is evident throughout his career. In fact, for his earliest forays into sculpture in the 1860s, he chose the horse as his subject, a decade before étienne-Jules Marey's or Eadweard Muybridge's famed photographs of horses in motion.