Of the approximately one hundred and fifty pieces found in his workshop, only seventy-three waxes could be saved; they were entrusted to Hébrard, who founded twenty-two sets of lost waxes in bronze, marked from A to T and exhibited for the first time in 1921. The P series entered the Louvre in 1930.
Modelling offered Edgar Degas a field of experiments. "The older I got, the more I realized that in order to achieve an accuracy so perfect that it gives the sensation of life, it is necessary to resort to the three dimensions[...] because there is little or no point in doing so," he told the critic Thiebault-Sisson.
The use of the same subjects - horses, dancers, women in their toilets - is because the sculptures were only meant to improve his paintings. Very difficult to establish, their chronology is based above all on criteria of style, increasing freedom of construction, and reliability in the analysis of movement.
Horses are generally considered to be his first sculptures. The "Cheval à l' arrêt", of which the Louvre also has the original wax, probably predates 1881, while the "Cheval marchant au pas relevé" is related to the "Aux courses" pastel of 1885.
During this period 1881-1890, Edgar Degas multiplied the studies of galloping horses, withdrawing on the obstacle, and paving... for which the photographs of decomposition of the movement made by the American Muybridge were of a precious help to him.