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Before the Race
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Before the Race

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description Throughout the latter part of his career, Degas was obsessed with the restless beauty of the thoroughbred racehorse. Horse racing, which drew together throngs of people from many levels of society, was a singularly appropriate subject for representing modern life. Degas typically painted several versions of a composition, making slight variations in each. Here, riders and horses are shown in quiet and agitated movement. By the 1880s, Degas was making good use of recently published, stop-action photographs, which captured movement too fleeting to be perceived by the naked eye and which increased the artist's understanding of the horse in motion.
Date Description Narrative
1/11/1982Examinationexamined for condition.
  • From Ingres to Gauguin: French Nineteenth Century Paintings Owned in Maryland. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1951.
  • A Day at the Races: Degas, Manet and Images of the Horse. National Gallery of Art, Washington. 1998.
  • Before Monet: Landscape Painting in France and Impressionist Masters: Highlights from The Walters Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998.
  • Vive la France! French Treasures from the Middle Ages to Monet. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1999-2000.
  • Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001.
  • Triumph of French Painting: Masterpieces from Ingres to Matisse. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach; Dayton Art Institute, Dayton; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. 2000-2002.
  • A Magnificent Age: Masterpieces from the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte. 2002-2004.
  • Déjà Vu? Revealing Repetition in French Masterpieces. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix. 2007-2008.
  • 19th Century Masterpieces from the Walters Art Museum. Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin. 2010-2011.
  • Public Property. 2012.
  • From Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2014-2016.
  • Boldini and his Circle. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2018-2021.
Provenance Durand-Ruel; Cyrus J. Lawrence, New York; Cyrus J. Lawrence Sale, New York, January 21, 1910, no. 62; Henry Walters, Baltimore, January 21, 1910, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions "Degas," signed in lower right
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1910

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oil on panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 10 3/8 x W: 13 3/4 in. (26.4 x 34.9 cm); Framed H: 22 5/8 x W: 25 15/16 x D: 4 in. (57.47 x 65.88 x 10.16 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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