At the Races in the Countryside
Edgar Degas, French, 1834–1917 French
36.5 x 55.9 cm (14 3/8 x 22 in.)
Medium or Technique
Oil on canvas
Sidney and Esther Rabb Gallery (Gallery 255)
This painting was one of the first works that Degas sold (in 1872) to Paul Durand-Ruel, the dealer who became the early champion of the Impressionists. It is not only a landscape but also a scene from everyday life and - most of all - a family portrait. The driver of the carriage is Degas's friend Paul Valpinçon, who is shown with his wife, a wet nurse, and in the nurse's lap, the couple's son, Henri.
With its subtly ironic title - the races play a minor role in the composition - the painting was among the artist's contributions to the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874.