Gustave Wertheimer (Austrian, 1847–1904)
THE GRAND PRIX DE PARIS, 1895
Oil on canvas, 40” x 32”
Paintings from the Salon and Champs de Mars Paris, 1897, Jordan Art Gallery, Boston, Dec. 1897–1898 number 263 A
Le Figaro. Figaro illustré. Paris: Boussod, Valadon & Cie., 1894, no. 50 Illustrated in Color
L’Art Francais, Illustrated. June 16, 1894. No. 373
At the end of the 19th century, the Grand Prix de Paris was one of France’s premier turf events. It attracted the best horses of the day and often drew crowds in excess of 200,000 people. Despite the importance of the Grand Prix to horse racing, the main focus on the race day was decidedly social in nature. Most accounts of the Grand Prix de Paris written in the late 19th or early 20th century focused more on the fashion and beauty present at Longchamp than on matters of the turf. The Spirit of the Times, an American sporting magazine, offered an account of the Grand Prix in 1883 that did not mention the actual race until the 17th paragraph, which was preceded by the following statement: “The women, the location, and the crowd are the three great features in which Le Grand Prix de Paris differs from the great racing events of England and America. As for the racing, I will speak of that in due season.”
Gustave Wertheimer’s depiction of Le Grand Prix de Paris mirrors the media coverage of the event in that the horses themselves are conspicuously absent.