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Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
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Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

A l'écurie, cheval et chien

Details
Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
A l'écurie, cheval et chien
signed 'Degas' (lower right)
oil on canvas
15¾ x 12 5/8 in. (40 x 32 cm.)
Painted circa 1862
Provenance
Atelier Degas; Deuxième vente, Galerie George Petit, Paris, 11-13 May 1918, lot 1 (sold for Ff.2,550).
Madame Friedmann, Paris, by whom acquired at the above sale and
thence by descent to the present owner.
Literature
P.A. Lemoisne, Degas et son oeuvre, vol. II, Paris, 1984, no. 106 (illustrated p. 55).
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

PUR SANG
On entend approcher par saccade brisée
Le souffle fort et sain. Dès l'aurore venu,
Dans le sévère train par son lad maintenu,
Le bon poulain galope et coupe la rosée.

Nonchalant et caché, du pas qui semble lent, Il rentre en sa maison, où l'avoine l'attend.
Il est prêt. Aussitôt vous l'attrape le joueur.
Edgar Degas

In 1866, Degas exhibited at the Paris Salon a large composition, Scène de Steeplechase (L.140, Paul Mellon Collection), a testimony to his interest in equestrian painting. The work drew very little attention at the time; Degas later commented to the journalist Thiébault-Sisson: "Vous ignoré sans doute que j'ai perpétré vers 1866, une Scène de Steeple-chase, la première et pendant longtemps la seule que m'aient inspiré les champs de courses. Or si je connaissais assez bien la plus noble conquête que l'homme ait jamais faite, s'il m'arrivait assez fréquement de l'enfourcher, si je distinguais sans trop de peine un pur sang d'avec un demi-sang, si même je possédais assez bien, pour l'avoir etudiée sur un de ces écorchés en plâtre qu'on découvre dans toute les boutiques de mouleur, l'anatomie et la myologie de l'animal, j'ignorais du tout au tout le mécanisme de ses mouvements" (F. Thiébault-Sisson, "Degas, sculpteur raconté par lui-même", Le Temps, 23 May 1921).

Painted circa 1862, A l'écurie is Degas' first oil devoted to the horse as main subject matter. As recorded in numerous drawings from this period, and in his first sculpture, Cheval arr/ceté (fig. 1), Degas enjoyed capturing conventional horses at ease when they were not on parade, while suggesting a greater personality in his horse than his later compositions. In spite of the truncated composition, the cocky ears, pleading eye, and sense of helplessness heightened by the presence of the domisticated dog seated nearby, give this animal a melancholy charm.

Degas kept the present painting throughout his life. It was last exhibited in December 1918, at the Artist's Studio sale at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris, where it was acquired by the family of the present owner.
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