Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Degas, E.
Cheval arrt
stamped with signature, numbered and stamped with foundry mark 'Degas 38/N A.A. HBRARD CIRE PERDUE' (Lugt 658; on the top of the base)
bronze with dark brown patina
Height: 11 in. (29.2 cm.)
Original wax model executed 1865-1881; this bronze version cast 1919-1921 in an edition of twenty-two, numbered A to T plus two casts reserved for the Degas heirs and the founder Hbrard
(possibly) Dr. Charpentier (December 1934).
Anon. sale, Sotheby's, New York, 18 May 1990, lot 320.
J. Rewald, Degas Works in Sculpture: A Complete Catalogue, New York, 1944, p. 19, no. III (another cast illustrated, pp. 36-37).
P. Borel, Les Sculpts Inndites de Degas, Geneva, 1949 (original wax model illustrated).
P. Pradel, "Quatre Cires Originales de Degas," La Revue de l'Art, January-February 1957, p. 30 (original wax model illustrated).
J. Rewald and L. von Matt, L'Oeuvre Sculpt de Degas, Zurich, 1957, no. 3 (another cast illustrated, p. 6).
J. Lassaigne and F. Minervino, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Degas, Paris, 1974, p. 142, no. S 47 (another cast illustrated, p. 143).
C.W. Millard, The Sculpture of Edgar Degas, Princeton, 1976, pp. 20 and 35.
J. Rewald, Degas's Complete Sculpture: Catalogue Raisonn, San Francisco, 1990, pp. 48-49 no. III (original wax model and another cast illustrated).
A. Pingeot, Degas Sculptures, Paris, 1991, p. 175, no. 47 (another cast illustrated).
S. Campbell, "A Catalogue of Degas' Bronzes," Apollo, vol. CXLII, no. 402, August 1995, p. 29, no. 38 (another cast illustrated, fig. 36).
T. Reff, "The Morbid Content of Degas' Sculptures," Apollo, vol. CXLII, no. 402, August 1995, p. 65.
J. Sutherland Boggs, Degas at the Races, exh. cat., Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, April-July 1998, pp. 84 and 185, (figs. 52 and 6) (original wax model illustrated).

Lot Essay

Degas first produced sculptures of horses in wax and clay in the late 1860s, deriving the theme from racing scenes, which he had begun to paint earlier in the decade. According to Jean Sutherland Boggs, the present cast appears to relate to a drawing of circa 1868-1870, Horse with saddle and bridle (collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums; J. Sutherland Boggs, op. cit., p. 84, pl. 50).

Theodore Reff suggests that Cheval arrt was a tribute to Degas' friend, the sculptor Joseph Cuvelier, who was killed in the Franco-Prussian War, and that Degas may be recalling "the finely worked equestrian sculptures, also typcially seen in a classical profile view, in which Cuvelier specialized" (T. Reff, op. cit. p. 65).

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