RacehorsesEnlarge image

Racehorses, c. 1895-1899

Edgar Degas
French, 1834 - 1917
pastel on tracing paper, laid down on cardboard
55.8 x 64.8 cm
Purchased 1950
National Gallery of Canada (no. 5771)

An excellent example of Degas's later working method, "Racehorses" is a fully realized pastel painting, complete with what are construed to be the artist's obsessive retouches in the sky. Degas used tracing paper as his support, which allowed him the ease of replicating a composition from a favourite bank of images, as witnessed by the existence of two other versions of these racehorses. The rich and complex textural array of colour is the result of a thick, impasto-like buildup of intermittently fixed layers of pastel.


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