French connection as the art of the horse celebrated

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Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917). Thoroughbred Horse Walking, cast 1919-21. Bronze 5 3/8”H x 4 1/8”W x 8 3/8”D. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. Photo by Katherine Wetzel
Thoroughbred Horse Walking, a bronze work by Edgar Degas from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. © Katherine Wetzel / VMFA

Many works by famous artists – equestrian and otherwise – are on show at an exhibition in Virginia telling the story of the French horse.

The French Horse From Géricault to Picasso: Works from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has more than 40 major paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from the museum’s collection, including the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon.

“Omnipresent in 19th-century France, the horse was portrayed in every manner and style by all types of artists,” the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) says, and artists as varied as Pablo Picasso, Antoine-Louis Barye, Edgar Degas, and Théodore Géricault represent every major movement in French art from Romanticism to Fauvism.

The Horse, by Pablo Picasso, crayon and ink on paper, from the Mellon Collection.
The Horse, by Pablo Picasso; crayon and ink on paper, from the Mellon Collection. © VMFA
Jockey Facing Left, by Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon.
Jockey Facing Left, by Edgar Degas; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. © Troy Wilkinson/Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Included among the works traveling to Middleburg are Pablo Picasso’s Jester on Horseback, a 1905 large oil on composition board from the artist’s French-influenced Rose Period; two paintings by Alfred de Dreux; two sculptures and two pencil studies by Edgar Degas; Raoul Dufy’s vibrant watercolor on paper, Champ de Courses a Deauville, ca. 1937; and two significant bronzes by les animaliers Isidore-Jules Bonheur and Pierre-Jules Mêne.

The exhibition was previously at the University of Richmond Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art through March and April, and will be at The National Sporting Library & Museum, Middleburg until July 31.

It will then move to the University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg, from September 1 to October 9, 2016.

A Trumpeter of the Life Guards, by Alfred De Dreux, also from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon.
A Trumpeter of the Life Guards, by Alfred De Dreux, also from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. © Travis Fullerton/VMFA

 

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