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We Are Flying Solo

December 1, 2012

The Artful Equine

Commissioned Portrait by Tony O'Connor
By Tony O'Connor (Ireland)
I am a self-admitted art snob.  I was educated to within an inch of my life & my mother made sure I was cultured whether I wanted it or not, LOL.  This is an excellent thing -- unless you are poor.  It's kind of like drugs:  once you have an educated aesthetic, bad art physically hurts you (and oh my cod is there a lot of it out there), but you can't afford the good stuff.

Note to my mother:  rule still stands, my walls are full, don't get any ideas!!!! 

What the heck?  This is not about horses!  You protest.

But it is.  Because I'm going to give in to my aesthetic lust and give you a self-indulgent artgasm (these sentences are getting dodgier and dodgier...) of incredible equine works that are outside of the well-known pieces such as
Let The Beauty Begin
Horse porn for your walls (oh, I'm going to get so many hits from that sentence):
Neptune's Horses by Walter Crane
Neptune's Horses by Walter Crane (1892, England)
Deux études partielles d'une tête de cheval bridée, sculptural study by Edme Bouchardon
Deux études partielles d'une tête de cheval bridée, sculptural study by Edme Bouchardon (1698-1762, France)
Rough translation of that title:  Two Partial Studies of a Bridled Horse's Head.  There, now I finally feel like that 7 years of French was good for something!

I bet you didn't know Degas (1834-1917, France) has a huge body of equestrian work -- sculpture & paintings of racehorses.  My favourites are his studies:
Three Jockeys
Three Jockeys
A horse study
A horse study
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640, Flemish) was best known for his hyper-saturated, detailed depictions of mythology & battle & has always been one of my favourite classical artists.  He had a great talent for capturing the powerful energy of a horse in motion or standing still.  Some of his lesser known works:

Equestrian Portrait of the Duke of Lerma
Equestrian Portrait of the Duke of Lerma
Saddled Horse
Saddled Horse (c. 1615-1618)
And before I leave the masters, I have to include this one for the title alone.  By Francisco de Goya (Spain), who is called both the last of the old masters & the first of the modern painters, known for his studio portraits & scenes of the wealthy:

A Woman And A Horse, Let Someone Else Master Them
A Woman And A Horse, Let Someone Else Master Them (how can you pass that up?)
Contemporary Artists
Stallion I by Ricardo Vargas
Stallion I by Ricardo Vargas
Weathered Equine I by Norman Wyatt Jr (VA)
Weathered Equine I by Norman Wyatt Jr (VA)
Baroque Horse Series III: II by Heather Theurer
Baroque Horse Series III: II by Heather Theurer (western US)
Hanging in the Balance by Heather Theurer
Hanging in the Balance by Heather Theurer (western US)
Horses At Leisure by Yunlan He (Beijing)
Horses At Leisure by Yunlan He (Beijing) - K, I confess I bought a print of this, it wooed me.
Desert Kings by Karen Dupre (CA)
Desert Kings by Karen Dupre (CA)
3 Stewarts by Joseph Zbukvic (Australia)
3 Stewarts by Joseph Zbukvic (Australia) - a newly discovered favourite
Morning Work by Joseph Zbukvic
Morning Work by Joseph Zbukvic (Australia)
Definitely check out Zbukvic's other watercolours; he is truly a master of this very difficult medium & his paintings took my breath away.

If I had a bottomless pit of money, I would build an entire wing of my house to be my own personal art museum (perhaps it would extend off of my fantasy library), one wall of which would be a mural painted by Sarah Lynn Richards (I requested one from her years ago at Rolex and she said, "Sure!" but I don't think she works for free) & oh, the treasures it would hold...


  1. "I was educated to within an inch of my life and my mother made sure I was cultured whether I wanted it or not, LOL." This made me laugh, as my mother did the same thing (resulting in my art degree)!

    One of my favorites (both for her personal strength and beautiful art) is Rosa Bonheur. Her art is beautiful. The most popular (and my favorite)? "The Horse Fair"

    Loved this post!

  2. yah to mothers! noted on full walls.

  3. I so agree that bad art hurts and that good art is too expensive. I should just use that excuse when people ask why my walls are so bare!

    I very nearly double majored in art and biology, but cramming tons of 2 credit art classes amidst 3 hour labs didn't jive too well. Oh yeah, and if you think science text books are expensive, I spent $200 on supplies for a drawing class which met once a week. I loved it, but I just could not keep that up.

    Are you familiar with Mr. Kincade? Makes my eyes bleed, may he rest in piece.

  4. I have a Degas pastel of race horses at the start of a race. We are not 100% sure that it is real or a print. And we are so afraid to damage it that we won't remove the backing to have a look at it! I can email you pics if you want to look at it.

    My parents usually hit up the old estate auctions in our area. I've managed to get a good collection of antique prints, and more modern originals that I will be able to decorate several houses.

  5. I LOVE "hanging in the balance" and all the classical ones. Still trying to convince the husband that equine art is kosher... no luck so far.

  6. Oh my word how did you forget George Stubbs on this list?? Stubbs was my IDOL as a kid, I studied his anatomical drawings for hours and hours and hours and obsessively painted horse skeletons for years. One of my many:

    He was my inspiration!

  7. (Wanted to ad that's obviously a picture of a mixed media piece... pieces of jade and paua shell right on the canvas! I loved that one... gave it to an ex, what was I thinking!?)

  8. Austen -- I do know that one, my BO has a beautiful print of it framed in his house as does my BFF! It's very popular and lovely.

    Val, omg, Kincade is my nemesis. I think my soul died a little every time I had to look at one.

    Plainsam, that is amazing! I would treasure it, who cares where it came from!

    Andrea -- my goal was to go for lesser known pieces or artists. I think Stubbs would be on the well-known list! I go back and forth on his, some I don't care for, but some are beautifully done!

  9. Oh yeah. My family is chock-full of artists and I was definitely raised to know what's good and what's crap. :-) My mother is ridiculously creative--she can paint, draw, make stained glass, and she has a MFA in jewelry/metalsmithing, which she teaches at a local college (oh yeah and she used to sew, refinish and upholster furniture, etc--Martha Stewart has got *nothing* on her!).. I can sketch a bit, but not by any great standard (especially in my family), but I did at least minor in art history.

    I have been lusting after that first one for quite some time--love it! There are so many on my list that I need to eventually get, and that is SO one of them.

  10. Just FYI, I *LOVE* this post - and I may follow suit with an arty one of my own in the near future!

    I, too, was raised by a ridiculously creative MFA-educated mama, and toted to every museum of note within a 200 mi. radius. Since I grew up in suburban NJ, that included NYC, thus an INSANE amount of museum time. Not all of which, I'm afraid, was appreciated...;-) I did enjoy anything with a horse in it, of course.

    I easily could have minored in Art History, but since I was already on the 5-year plan and parental patience was wearing thin I did not. Kept the textbook, though.

    That Aussie guy's stuff is INCREDIBLE, and I also love the one that you had to acquire as a print. Gorgeous.

    My post will have pictures of the large amount of equestrian art I have on display in my house. My family are very good sports about indulging Mom's obsession!

  11. Oh yes, RW, and it's even worse when you have GOOD museums. Between the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Smithsonian, I thought those were normal. So when I moved to the Raleigh area, I visited theirs. Oh bless their hearts... Sigh. But surprisingly -- you know who has a kickass, mind-blowing art museum? Kansas City. Seriously. I had to go three times, it was so awesome.

    I have been searching for prints of Zbukvic's work, but he is so hot right now, he doesn't even do prints. If I only had $12,000, a painting could be mine! I watched a video of him painting and even the first underwash layer made the most beautiful piece of grey paper I have ever seen -- how do you even DO that??? I've been trolling his website, just staring over and over, wondering how I have not discovered him sooner!

    Would love to see your stuff! I have a lot of variety in my house, a few horses, some of my own stuff, and lots of other subjects.

  12. Ooooh, I like Franz Marc. Good thing I guess, lol! I'd never seen his stuff before but I might have to look at more of what he's done. I also love Zbukvic...sigh...maybe when I win the lottery I can put his paintings all over my house! :)

  13. Really, you've never seen the Red Horses? That's an iconic one - it's the first thing that popped into my head when you showed me your gorgeous surreal pony. I have another of his prints that I'll have to show you.

  14. I will have to do a post of my equine art I have acquired - my dad is an antique dealer. Just stunning pieces. I love hanging in the balance. Another goodie is the Farriers have probably seen that one.

  15. Yes, BeBe, I love that one! Do post, do!!!