Charles Sterling, and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX Century." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2, New York, 1966, pp. 16–17, ill., locate this race along the Via Flaminia, now the Corso, in Rome; state that although this picture is a study for a larger version ("La Mossa," private collection), it has the appearance of a final composition; date the larger version March 1820 and note that in it, the grandstands extend on either side of the horses, the background is more extensive, and portraits of French artists in Rome are recognizable; compare the MMA picture to one of Gericault's studies for his painting of the same subject (Walters Art Museum, Baltimore).
Isabelle Julia in French Painting, 1774–1830: The Age of Revolution. Exh. cat., Grand Palais, Paris. Detroit, 1974, pp. 449, 650–52, no. 186, ill. p. 262 [French ed., "De David à Delacroix: La Peinture française de 1774 à 1830," Paris, 1974, pp. 445, 643–45, no. 186, pl. 167], calls it "Riderless Horse Race" and dates it about 1820; notes that Vernet witnessed the horse race during his first trip to Rome; compares this picture to the paintings on the same theme by Gericault (Musée du Louvre, Paris) and Carle Vernet (Musée Calvet, Avignon).
Carol Phillips in French Nineteenth Century Oil Sketches: David to Degas. Exh. cat., The William Hayes Ackland Memorial Art Center. Chapel Hill, 1978, pp. 126–27, no. 61, pl. 61, describes it as "an attempt to clarify the main motif of grooms and horses" for the final version (private collection); comments that it "has a unity and a sense of concentration lacking in most of Vernet's finished works which tend to break down into an endless series of detailed episodes".
Claire Constans in Horace Vernet (1789–1863). Exh. cat., Accademia di Francia a Roma. Rome, 1980, p. 45, under no. 14, ill. p. 24.
William R. Johnston. The Nineteenth Century Paintings in the Walters Art Gallery. Baltimore, 1982, pp. 40–41.
Laura Hickman Neis. "Ultra-royalism and Romanticism: The Duc de Blacas's Patronage of Ingres, Delacroix, and Horace Vernet." PhD diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1987, pp. 185, 207–8, fig. 6, calls it "La Mossa" and states that this version may have been known to more American artists than French; notes, on the basis of lithographic versions of the final painting, that our sketch "preserves the color scheme".
Important 19th Century European Paintings, Drawings and Watercolors. Sotheby's, New York. February 24, 1987, unpaginated, under no. 12, mention it in the entry for the final version.
Jean-Charles Gateau. "La Canaille. Orbite autour d'un 4 juin 1828 fictif." Recherches & travaux no. 46 (November 1994), pp. 65–67, ill., identifies this picture as the one referred to by Stendhal as "la course des chevaux barbes".
Important 19th Century European Paintings and Sculpture. Sotheby's, New York. October 23, 1997, unpaginated, under no. 48, discuss it under the entry for another oil study of the composition.
Olivier Bonfait and Antoinette Le Normand-Romain. French Artists in Rome: Ingres to Degas, 1803–1873. Exh. cat., Dahesh Museum of Art. New York, 2003, pp. 43, 64, ill. (color), date it about 1820 and call it a sketch for the larger version.
Bruno Chenique in Maestà di Roma, da Napoleone all'unita d'Italia: D'Ingres à Degas, les artistes français à Rome. Exh. cat., Villa Medici, Rome. [Milan], 2003, pp. 103–4 (fig. 9), 246, states that the inclusion of red phrygian caps is not necessarily intended to comport political meaning.
Gary Tinterow in Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 26, 310, no. 24, ill. (color and black and white).