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George Ford Morris Equine Art Tops American Saddlebred Museum Art Auction



 

Ringmen Charlie Graves and Jamie Donaldson display

George Ford Morris oil "Prince Phillip" - museum photo


 

LEXINGTON, KY – The works of noted equine artist George Ford Morris were eagerly sought at the 2006 Saddlebred Art, Antique and Rare Book Auction, held on Saturday July 15th in Lexington, KY at the Red Mile’s historic Stable of Memories.  Eight original works, including 3 oils, 3 charcoals, 1 watercolor and 1 tempera brought a total of $209,000.  The sale topper was his famed 1925 charcoal entitled “Battling Pegases” which realized $38,000.  Ten reproductions including lithographs, posters, photogravures and prints brought an additional $26,800 while two of his books sold for a total of $3,100.

 

“After last year’s record-setting price of $135,000 for Morris’ four-in-hand coaching oil, our auction saw a marked increase in the number of consignments of George Ford Morris pieces”, said Tolley Graves, Director of the Museum.  “This year’s higher average price per piece indicates a continued strong demand for Morris’ work.  For too long his work has been overshadowed and under-appreciated.  Morris’ creative use of light and shadow as well as his ability to capture the essence of an animal is now receiving the recognition it has long deserved.”

 

Signed and Dated 1925, “Battling Pegases” is one of Morris’ most recognizable works.  Shortly after arriving in Paris in 1924, some of the French artists said that Morris copied his horses from photographs, as no one could draw them as he does from life.  To prove them wrong he drew this charcoal from imagination.  He knew it would be impossible for critics to say it had been done from any photograph.  20 T x 28 W. Realized $38,000.

 

Other Highlights of the July 15 Auction include:

 

George Ford Morris (American, 1873 – 1960) “Prince Phillip”.  Original Oil on Board. Signed and Dated 1921.  22 T x 30 W.  Prince Phillip was an Irish race horse before he was purchased and imported by James Kemper of Kansas City.  He was used almost exclusively as a hunter sire thereafter.  This painting displays all of the characteristics for which Mr. Morris is known – cloud-filled skies, juxtaposition of light and dark and life-like expressivity of subject.  Realized $37,000.

 

George Ford Morris (American, 1873 – 1960) “Welcome Dare”.  Original Oil Signed and Dated 1946.  22 T” x 30 W”.  One of the most striking of Morris’ oils, his masterful use of light and color give Welcome Dare an appearance that is almost three-dimensional.  The work is pictured on page 274 of his Portraitures of Horses book. Realized $35,000.

 

George Ford Morris (American, 1873 – 1960) “Eclipse”.  Original Oil on Board. Signed and Dated 1955.  22 T x 30 W.  A direct descendant of the Darley Arabian, Eclipse was the first undefeated British race horse to also dominate at stud.  Realized $27,000.

 

George Ford Morris (American, 1873 – 1960) “Black Squirrel”.  Original Charcoal on paper. Signed and Dated 1904.  18 T x 22 W.  This charcoal is the only known remaining work of this stallion by George Ford Morris.  Realized $20,000.  

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