- Edgar Degas
- Cheval se cabrant
- Inscribed with the signature Degas, stamped with the foundry mark A.A. Hébrard
Cire Perdue and numbered 4/T
- Height: 12 3/8 in.
- 31.4 cm
(probably) Nelly Hébrard, Paris
Otto M. Gerson, New York (acquired in Paris in 1961)
Mrs. Walter Buhl Ford II (acquired from the above in 1963 and sold: Sotheby's, New York, November 4, 1982, lot 25)
Acquired at the above sale
John Rewald, Degas: Works in Sculpture, 1944, no. XIII, illustrations of another cast pls. 48-51
John Reward & Leonard Von Matt, L'Oeuvre sculpé de Degas, Paris, 1957, no. XIII, illustrations of another cast pls. 15-19
Sara Campbell, "Degas's Bronzes," Apollo, London, August 1995, no. 4, illustration of another cast (listed incorrectly as cast I)
Joseph S. Czestochowski & Anne Pingeot, Degas Sculptures, Catalogue Raisonné of the Bronzes, Milan, 2002, no. 4, referenced p. 129 (listed incorrectly as cast I)
Sara Campbell, Richard Kendall, Daphne Barbour & Shelley Sturman, Degas in the Norton Simon Museum, Nineteenth-Century Art, Volume II, Pasadena, 2009, no. 4, referenced p. 505 (listed incorrectly as cast I)
Widely regarded as Degas' most expressive rendering of a race horse, Cheval se cabrant is an unusually crisp cast of the original wax model created in the 1880s. While it is unclear whether Degas based his modeling of the horse on Eadweard Muybridge's innovative series of photographs of the galloping horse, we know that the sculptor was fascinated by this most expressive stance and rendered it in two versions: no. 65 and this example, no. 4.
The present cast of Cheval se cabrant is marked with the foundry's inventory number 4 and with the series letter T. After the artist's death in 1917, his heirs authorized the A.A. Hébrard foundry to cast Degas' 73 original wax models into bronze mutiples. According to their initial agreement, Hébrard proposed to make 22 bronze casts of each figure: one set for Degas's heirs, marked HER; one for the foundry marked HER.D; and twenty sets for sale, marked with the letters A-T. Each bronze is thus numbered alpha-numerically, indicating both the foundry's inventory number and the series to which it belongs. In response to consumer demand, sometimes Hébrard never completed a full set of a given letter series, or produced more examples than were originally specified in the contract, resulting in many variations in the edition sizes for each figure. Cheval se cabrant, being one of the most popular of the bronze figurines, was cast in a complete letter series, along two examples marked HER, one marked HER.D and one marked AP, the initials of the Hébrard founder.
When the present cast of Cheval se cabrant was sold at the Ford sale in 1982, it was incorrectly catalogued as letter series I instead of T. This error has carried over into subsequently published literature, leading to a conflation of the provenance of the two bronzes I and T.