Oil on canvas

50 x 42 cm with frame

Olivier Pichat (1823 - 1912) is one of the so-called "sporting painters". Very fashionable in England from the 18th century with artists such as George Stubbs (1724-1806), this art was transformed in the 19th century to provide a kind of reportage on the racecourse, culminating in the Epsom Derby, which became one of Géricault's masterpieces in 1921 (preserved in the Louvre)
This pictorial genre remained marginal in France, with only a few Anglophile painters such as Carle Vernet or Alfred Dedreux adopting the Anglo-Saxon codes. In this painting, the artist has translated the agitation of the racecourse behind the scene of the horses in full action.

The Musée d'Orsay has a large collection of photographs by Olivier Pichat. This collection includes military scenes, but also oriental landscapes. These photographs were the basis for the staging of his paintings.
A pupil of Picot, he made his debut at the Salon of 1881.
His apprenticeship with François Edouard Picot (1786-1868) was undoubtedly decisive in terms of his classical training; indeed, François Picot, a pupil of David, was awarded the second Grand Prix de Rome in 1811, and after his stay at the Villa Medici, he painted scenes in the purest neo-classical tradition.

Olivier Pichat painted Napoleon on his horse several times at the Boulogne camp in St Helene. He also painted the imperial prince on his pony, a painting exhibited at the Salon of 1861 and preserved at the Château de Compiègne, as well as another portrait of the imperial prince in 1870.
In all these history paintings, the horse holds an important place and one can notice his mastery in the execution of the animal.

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