Degas, "Aux courses en province" (At the Races)

ca. 1872
Now known as Carraige at the Races
Oil on canvas
14 3/8 x 22 in. (36.5 x 55.9 cm)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


"In defending it too much, we might end up compromising this group, which is attacked with the same arguments that were used against Corot and many others. Might not Degas become classic some day? No one can express with a surer hand the feeling of modern elegance. He knows how to see and to make others see a horse race, the jockeys welded to their saddles, the excited crowd, the horses at the gate.... Moreover, this is a man whose capacity for observation, artistic subtlety, and taste reveal themselves in even his smallest works."
[Philippe Burty], La Republique Francaise, 25 April 1874

"In general his color is a little muted, except for a small painting, Aux courses en province, which has exquisite color, draftsmanship, exactness of pose, and accuracy of execution."
Ernest Chesneau, Paris-Journal, 7 May 1874

"Degas is strange and sometimes goes as far as being bizarre. Horses, ballerinas, and laundresses-these are his favorite subjects, and of all the things that surround him, they seem to preoccupy him exclusively. But what precision there is to his drawing, and what pleasing accord in his colors!"
[Jules-Antoine] Castagnary, Le Siecle, 29 April 1874