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Famous Horse Artists
First Posted: July 3,007
Mar 28, 2011

Edgar Degas/Artist

by Debora Johnson

Edgar Degas was born July 19, 1834 and died September 27, 1917. He was a Parisian. Degas is most noted for his works of the human figure in motion. However, he is also quite well known for his depictions of race horses. He studied under Louis Lamothers (a pupil of Ingres). Degas attended classes at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. In 1854 he studied Italian Renaissance Art in Italy for 5 years.

In 1859 Degas returned to Paris. During this time he combined classical and romantic styles. Edouard Manet and he became friends. Degas emphasized social and intellectual themes in his art in the latter part of the 1860s. It should be noted that Charles Degas was from an aristocratic family. His father was a wealthy banker. Degas was no stranger to art growing up. In fact, his parents were supportive of his painting. It should also be noted, that growing up, his favorite painter was Jean Auguste Inges, a neoclassic painter. From Dega's early appreciation of Inges, he learned to paint stressing balance and clarity of outline. Drawing lines was stressed.

Although Degas painted during the impressionist era, and exhibited from 1874 to 1886 in this genre, Degas painted differently. His art showed thought of movement, harmony, and continuity. After beginning his artistic studies with Louis Lamothes, a pupil of Ingres, he started classes at the Ecole des Beaux Arts but left in 1854 and went to Italy. Edgar Degas stayed there for 5 years, studying Italian art, especially Renaissance works. Returning to Paris in 1859, he painted portraits of his family and friends and a number of historical subjects, in which he combined classical and romantic styles. In Paris, Degas came to know Édouard Manet. In the late 1860s he turned to contemporary themes, painting both theatrical scenes and portraits with a strong emphasis on the social and intellectual implications of the times.

Recently, at a lecture at the National Gallery in Washington, DC, my husband and I learned that Degas changed his last name. The original family name was De Gas. He combined it into one last name, Degas. In that same lecture we learned that Degas set up the first large place for Impressionists to exhibit their work because the Salon in France forbid them to show their art.

Since my web site is a horse site, I will only have some of the Degas horse works of art.

Edgar Degas
French, 1834 - 1917
Horse, 1890
chalk and pastel counterproof on wove paper

Horse Walking, model early 1870s
cast 1920/1925

Jockeys and Racehorses

Jockeys in the Rain (1881)


At the Races (1877-1880)

Horses in Front of the Grandstand

Famous Horse Artists