The Races (Les Courses)

Artist: Édouard Manet (French, Paris 1832–1883 Paris)

Date: 1865–72, published 1884

Medium: Lithograph, final state (III) on chine collé; standard edition of 1884

Dimensions: sheet: 20 7/8 x 26 7/8in. (53 x 68.3cm)
plate: 15 1/4 x 20 1/8 in. (38.7 x 51.1 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1920

Accession Number: 20.17.2


During the Second Empire, horseracing was in vogue and the racetrack at Longchamps became a gathering place for fashionable society. A frequent subject of articles in the popular press and of many popular prints, the races drew an elegant crowd of aristocrats and wealthy prostitutes who mingled with bookmakers and bettors. Manet's print is distinctive for its dramatic departure from the traditional lateral view of the horses in favor of a radically foreshortened frontal view of the animals galloping directly toward the spectator posted at one of the curves.