Edgar Degas ( French, 1834 - 1917 )
Featuring one of Edgar Degas’s favorite subjects, Jockeys is among the last of the pastels that the artist devoted to the theme of horseracing. As in many of his other equestrian images, Degas records the moments before the race, rather than the race itself. Here the jockeys and horses appear in a chaotic and disjointed horizontal arrangement set against an expressive blue and white sky. Despite the work’s improvisational appearance, the gridded lines on the paper indicate that Degas had carefully planned the composition in advance. The grid was used to transfer figures or poses from the cache of drawings that Degas produced and mined for inspiration over his lifetime.