We find two horse and riders in the centre of this sketch, with a number of other figures added around them. The artwork was authenticated by a commission which is responsible for judging and attributing work to the artist, and accordingly they left the stamp in the bottom right corner. The forms in this drawing are fairly well formed, but without much attention to any other detail, suggesting that the artist was studying these items for a later painting. He would then worry about other parts of the composition in the later work. The artist featured horses fairly regularly within the early part of his career, finding inspiration on his family's estate and mixing up different approaches with close up portraits, and then more complex arrangements with horse and rider together. He learnt a lot about figurative art with these paintings and also hoped to impress his father who was a keen rider, but found it hard to connect withi his son because of his limited physical capabilities.
This piece was listed by Sotheby's as being sized at 16.5 by 11cm., 6½ by 4⅜in, though has since been framed and so the overall artwork for sale was considerably larger. It entered the auction from a private, unnamed collection and was given a presale estimate of £8,000 - 12,000, achieving a sale price of £10,080. The auction house has handled the sale of a number of his drawings in recent years, though normally put these through its location in Paris, in order to appeal specifically to French collectors who might be interested in capturing an item from their fellow Frenchman's career. Interest in this artist's career remains strong, and his style feels contemporary even today. The significance that he had within the graphic arts also means his legacy will be discussed by art students and historians alike.
The artist left behind a large number of drawings by the end of his career, many of which were in sketchbooks. These have been examined and documented in detail within a number of studies of his career. Some of his creations would be gifted to friends and family, and so a number have been dispersed geographically over the past century or so. He was a prolific artist who used his work to distract himself from his own problems, just as many have done, and this ensures a good supply of work for both public and private collections, allowing many of us to continue to see his work in person within the US and many European nations. He also produced lithographic prints from original designs which allowed those of small incomes to purchase some of his art, thus spreading his reputation yet further.