Roosenboom began his studies under the Realist painter and sculptor Constantin Meunier and quickly developed a reputation as a leading painter of society genre scenes and portraits, exhibiting in Brussels from 1869 on, and later in Ghent and London. Like his contemporary Tissot (see lots 105 and 170), Roosenboom was concerned with the realistic transcription of modern life and in Elegant Company at the Races, he deftly portrays a vignette taken from life during the belle epoque. Horseracing was the rage at the turn of the century and attracted people from all social milieu. Whereas Degas had portrayed the jockeys and the racetrack itself, Roosenboom's interest is less in the race itself than in the elegant spectators and their charming children, all dressed in the height of fashion. The scene would have been familiar to many of his viewers who would have recognized in the picture the characterization of bookies, jockeys and nobility who intermixed in the stands and in the paddocks. As the French writer Jules Janin asked, "Where will you find a more animated sight (than at) the promenande...the spectators were as interested in the contest of fashions as in the contest of horses on the turf." (quoted in V. Steele, Paris Fashion-A Cultural History, New York, 1988, p. 169). Whether it was a painting of mothers and children or fashionable women in elegant interiors, Roosenboom employed a rich, painterly technique which is evident in the present picture.