Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas's Horses Before the Stands (1866-68) is an Impressionist painting full of life. Degas began to paint scenes at the racecourse around 1861. The challenging subject appealed to the analytical painter. Every aspect of horse racing was modern: a fashionable crowd, a leisure time activity, and the elements of motion and speed. In his daring approach to composition, inspired in part by Japanese prints and the new medium of photography, Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas boldly cut figures off at the border of his frame, giving the sense of spontaneous action.
Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas was a master of capturing the details and activities of modern life. On the next page, see how he portrayed a business in Impressionist painting The Cotton Exchange at New Orleans.