Skip to contentSkip to navigation
Become a Member
Explore today's schedule
Visit MMFA for free by becoming a Member
Learn more
Back
Raoul Dufy

The Racecourse in Epsom

Artist

Raoul Dufy
Le Havre 1877 – Forcalquier, France, 1953

Title

The Racecourse in Epsom

Date

1937 or 1938

Materials

Watercolour and gouache over traces of graphite

Dimensions

50 x 65 cm

Credits

Gift of Storrs and Ann McCall, inv. 2015.217

Collection

Graphic Arts

Calligraphic lines depict the animated horses, jockeys and spectators milling about at this British racecourse. These highly abbreviated descriptions, as well as the fields of colour, suggest stylistic innovations influenced by Dufy’s significant output in the decorative arts, particularly his textile designs for the famous French fashion designer Paul Poiret. Close inspection reveals horses outlined in brown and highlighted in washes of orange, white or purple. One of the jockeys is suggested by a single curved brush stroke, while others have special attention given to their multicoloured garb, with sleeves painted in a contrasting colour to the bodies of their jackets and jodhpurs. Fashionable spectators sport top hats or long dresses, also delineated in black or brown, coloured in with a single vertical stroke of pink, blue or white.


Dufy depicts this moment before or after the race as one of leisure rather than anticipation, an atmosphere established primarily by the carefree mood of the vast, vibrant expanse of green racetrack in the sun-drenched scene. The absence of any evidence of alteration or labour in Dufy’s expressive line, conveying speed, ease and vitality, adds to the cheerful ambience.

© Estate of Raoul Dufy / SOCAN (2020)

Add a touch of culture to your inbox
Subscribe to the Museum newsletter

Bourgie Hall Newsletter sign up

This website uses cookies in order to optimize your browsing experience and for promotional purposes. To learn more, please see our policy on the protection of personal Iinformation