“If I paint a wild horse, you might not see the horse... but surely you will see the wildness!” - Pablo Picasso
Artists have a thing about horses. Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, George Stubbs, even Kandinsky and Warhol - so many of the names from the artistic canon have applied their talents to depicting horses. From 16,000 year-old cave paintings in France to traditional European hunting scenes to depictions of the American West, the horse as painterly subject has had its hold on us for centuries. This is no doubt in part because of how integral horses were to our lives for much of civilization - they were essential in battle, in transportation, in sport, and ultimately in our affections.
But there is something else that calls artists to want to master the form of the horse. It's commonly said that horses are the hardest thing to draw. Their anatomy is specific, and of course, their exact movements were a mystery until 1878 when Eadweard Muybridge's photographs famously captured the moment when all four of a horse's hooves left the ground at once, laying the cornerstone for the entire motion picture industry. Horses' sheer size, their kinetic potential even at rest, the suggestion of power in the gloss of their coats and the tautness of their tendons, and the deep soulfulness of their eyes - capturing all that in two dimensions is the ultimate artistic gauntlet.
Our August Estate Auction includes a selection of contemporary artworks that pay homage to equine sports - both polo and horse racing. All are from a single-owner Private Collection, Virginia
The August Estate Auction
Thursday, August 13th