Louis Anquetin 1861-1932
N05074 The Finish of a Horse Race
Watercolour on paper, 14 7/8 x 23 3/8 (37.8 x 64.2); the picture occupies an area 10 5/8 x 21 7/16 (27 x 54.5)
Bequeathed by Frank Hindley Smith 1940
Prov: Frank Hindley Smith, Southport
Exh: The Tate Gallery's Wartime Acquisitions, National Gallery, London, April-May 1942 (1); A Selection from the Tate Gallery's Wartime Acquisitions, CEMA touring exhibition, September 1942-September 1943 (1)
Lit: Robert H. Sherard, 'Louis Anquetin, Painter' in Art Journal, 1899, p.89
Repr: Connoisseur, CVIII, 1941, p.165; John Rothenstein, Modern Foreign Pictures in the Tate Gallery (London 1949), pl.77
Another watercolour of this composition was in 1953 in the possession of the artist's step-daughter Mme C. du Ferron-Anquetin in Paris. The image is the same size and resembles this work very closely, but has the jockeys on the right unfinished and is slightly less detailed and precise.
Robert H. Sherard, writing in 1898 or early 1899, records that while preparing to paint a life-size picture of the races at Auteuil for the Paris International Exhibition of 1900, Anquetin visited various racecourses in search of documentation, and obtained permission to study his subject from life at Longchamps. At Auteuil, on the other hand, his application was refused. The two watercolours may have been by-products of this. The large painting was never exhibited and it is possible that this project was left unrealised.
An oil painting 49 x 71.5cm, rather similar to the watercolours and apparently done about the same time, was sold at Sotheby's on 5 July 1973, lot 38 repr. as 'The Finish of the Grand Prix at Longchamps'. It also shows racehorses nearing the finishing post, with a crowd of spectators behind, but there is no feature that is exactly the same. In addition, Mme du Ferron-Anquetin owned a pair of oil paintings of racecourse scenes, each 40 x 100cm, one showing the finish of a horse-race, and the other fashionable people at the course. The former has the horses in rather similar attitudes, but the gap between the leader and those following is greater, the crowd is much further back and there are no rails, and the stand of Longchamps racecourse can be seen in the background.
There are also several lithographs of horse-racing scenes, including one, 'A Canter', which is reproduced in Le Courrier Français, 15 May 1898, pp.6-7.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.15-16, reproduced p.15