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

Cheval se cabrant

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Cheval se cabrant
stamped with signature, numbered and stamped with foundry mark 'Degas 4/B A.A. HÉBRARD CIRE PERDUE' (Lugt 658; on the top of the base)
bronze with brown patina
Height: 12 ¼ in. (31.2 cm.)
Original wax model executed circa 1880-1890; this bronze version cast by 1921 in an edition numbered A to T, plus two casts reserved for the Degas heirs and the founder Hébrard, marked HER.D and HER respectively
Walther Halvorsen, Paris (1921).
Ferargil Galleries, New York (by 1925).
Private collection, United States.
Gerson Gallery, New York.
Private collection, Boston.
Charitable Foundation, Boston (by descent from the above).
The Lefevre Gallery (Alex. Reid & Lefevre, Ltd.), London (acquired from the above).
Thomas Gibson Fine Art, Ltd., London (acquired from the above).
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 19 October 2004.
J. Rewald, Degas, Works in Sculpture: A Complete Catalogue, New York, 1944, p. 20, no. XIII (other casts illustrated, pp. 48-51).
J. Rewald, Degas Sculpture: The Complete Works, New York, 1956, p. 143, no. XIII (other casts illustrated, pls. 15-19).
F. Russoli and F. Minervino, L'opera completa di Degas, Milan, 1970, p. 142, no. S44 (another cast illustrated, p. 143).
I. Dunlop, Degas, London, 1979, p. 182, no. 173 (another cast illustrated, p. 183).
J. Rewald, Degas's Complete Sculpture: A Catalogue Raisonné, San Francisco, 1990, p. 68, no. XIII (another cast illustrated, p. 68; wax version illustrated, p. 69; dated 1865-1881).
A. Pingeot, Degas Sculptures, Paris, 1991, p. 174, no. 44 (other casts illustrated, pp. 95-97 and 174).
S. Campbell, "A Catalogue of Degas Bronze" in Apollo, no. 402, vol. CXLII, August 1995, p. 13, no. 4 (another cast illustrated).
J.S. Czestochowski and A. Pingeot, Degas Sculptures: Catalogue Raisonné of the Bronzes, Memphis, 2002, p. 129, no. 4 (another cast illustrated in color, p. 128; another cast illustrated and wax version illustrated, p. 129).
S. Campbell, R. Kendall, D.S. Barbour and S.G. Sturman, Degas in the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, 2009, vol. II, p. 505, no. 4 (wax model illustrated, p. 251; other casts illustrated in color, p. 253; details of another cast illustrated in color, pp. 253-254; dated late 1880s).
S.G. Lindsay, D.S. Barbour and S.G. Sturman, Edgar Degas Sculpture, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2010, p. 94, no. 10 (another cast illustrated in color, p. 95; dated 1880s).
New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exhibition of Bronzes by Edgar Degas, December 1922, no. 44.
London, Ernest Brown & Phillips Leicester Galleries, Catalogue of an Exhibition of the Works in Sculpture of Edgar Degas, February-March 1923, p. 12, no. 44.
Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Exposition Degas, au profit de la Ligue franco-anglo-americaine contre le cancer: Peintures, pastels et dessins, sculptures, eaux-fortes, lithographies et monotypes, April-May 1924, p. 120, no. 297.
New York, Ferargil Galleries, Catalogue of the Exhibition of the Works in Sculptures of Edgar Degas, 1834-1917, October-November 1925, p. 6, no. 44.
Special notice
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.
Sale room notice
In addition to those lots marked in the catalogue with the relevant symbols, lot 14 A has a guarantee fully or partially financed by a third-party who may be bidding on the lot and may receive a financing fee from Christie’s.

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Jessica Fertig
Jessica Fertig

Lot Essay

Other casts of the present sculpture can be found in public institutions including: The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Norton Simon Art Foundation, Pasadena; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museo de Arte de São Paolo Assis Chateaubriand; Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Musée d'Orsay, Paris; Toledo Museum of Art; Fridart Foundation, Amsterdam.

“Happy sculptor… but I have not yet made enough horses!” Degas penned, exhilarated, to his friend and fellow sculptor Albert Bartholomé in 1888, around the same time that he created this dramatic, dynamic statuette (quoted in J.S. Boggs, Degas at the Races, exh. cat., Washington, D.C., 1998, p. 197). A passionate habitué of the racetrack at Longchamps since the early 1860s, Degas sketched and painted horses and jockeys as a signature genre in his art. Rearing horses similar to Cheval se cabrant first appeared on pages in the artist’s early notebooks, circa 1855-1856, based on old master subjects he had been studying. He thereafter made studies directly from observing horses in motion at the track, and as late as the mid-1890s, drawn from the sculpture itself.
During the 1880s, the period of his most sustained engagement with equine imagery, Degas began to sculpt horses in wax using a complex, well-articulated inner armature that allowed for a wider experimentation with difficult to capture, action poses: trotting, prancing, galloping, balking, and rearing. “Four-legged ballerinas dancing en pointe outdoors,” the poet Paul Valéry described these astutely observant investigations of horse gaits, likening them to Degas’s contemporaneous studies of his best-known, most popular theme (quoted in S. Lindsay, D.S. Barbour, and S.G. Sturman, op. cit., 2010, p. 64). Cheval se cabrant connotes a narrative moment that demonstrates Degas’ mastery at capturing tension and motion within a static form. “This horse’s head is more finely rendered and more expressively satisfying than any other by Degas,” Gary Tinterow has written of Cheval se cabrant. “Its nostrils flare and the right eye bulges as if in fright” (quoted in S. Campbell, R. Kendall, D.S. Barbour and S.G. Sturman,op. cit., 2009, p. 253).
The expressive quality of Cheval se cabrant, with its wild, protruding eye and flexed, recoiling neck, has prompted varied responses from commentators. Paul-André Lemoisne postulated that the horse may be the gored mount of a picador (“Les statuettes de Degas”, Art et Décoration, Paris, 1919, p. 11). Giorgio Cortenova and Ettore Camesasca have proposed that the horse is rearing to avoid the bite of an opponent (Degas Scultore, exh. cat., Milan, 1989, p. 174). Jean Sutherland Boggs suggested a deeper, metaphorical significance in Cheval se cabrant: “Degas had been fascinated not only with the concept of the horse’s search for freedom but with his own sympathy with the animal. His finest expression of the horse’s desire to escape the civilizing by man is the work of sculpture, Cheval se cabrant. To Degas, who had always admired determination in his dancers, as well as horses and riders, it is a symbol of the courage of self-will” (exh. cat., op. cit., 1998, p. 168). S.I. Newhouse purchased Degas’ Cheval se cabrant after visiting Lucian Freud’s home and seeing another version of the sculpture.

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