Before the Race
Before the Race, ca. 1885
Pastel, gouache, and graphite over charcoal on tracing paper mounted to cardboard
56.5 x 65.4 cm (22 1/4 x 25 3/4 inches)
Gift of Mrs. Murray S. Danforth 42.214
(June 5 –October 26, 2008)
The racetrack as a subject intermittently occupied Degas’s attention during most of his mature life as an artist, providing him with a focus for his study of the interaction of form and movement. His Before the Race is built upon three horizontals: the fence, the friezelike disposition of the jockeys’ heads, and the horizon line. These elements create a rhythmic contrast to the horses’ curved forms and the prominent vertical strokes of the landscape, achieved with multiple layers of pastel. Key to the composition is the rigid fence in white gouache, which stands out from the surrounding textures and softer hues of the chalk. The fence pushes the jockeys and their mounts forward, contributing to a sense of excitement and anticipation as the group prepares to race.(September 16, 2005 – January 15, 2006)
Edited ByWoolsey, Ann, ed.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 2008
TypeMonographs and CollectionsSelection VFrench Watercolors and Drawings, ca. 1800-1910
Contributions byChampa, Kermit S.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1975
TypeMonographs and CollectionsEdgar DegasSix Friends At Dieppe
Edited BySingsen, Judith A., ed.
Contributions byO'Brien, Maureen C.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 2005
TypeExhibition CatalogueA Handbook of the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
Edited ByWoodward, Carla M., and Franklin W. Robinson, eds.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1988
TypeMonographs and Collections
James Fowle, “A Note on Degas,” Museum Notes 51, no. 2 (December 1964): 3-20.
P.A. Lemoisne, Degas et son oeuvre. Paris: Arts et métiers graphiques, 1946.
Degas, 1834-1917. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Museum of Art, 1936.
Art in New England: Paintings, Drawings, Prints from Private Collections in New England. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1939.
Charles Louis Borgmeyer, “The Master Impressionists,” Fine Arts Journal 29, no. 1 (July 1913): 381-412.
Exposition Degas au profit de la Ligue Franco-Anglo-Américaine contre le cancer. Paris: Galeries Georges Petit, 1924.