The Headley-Whitney Museum in Lexington, Kentucky will mount a retrospective exhibit of the impressive work of Andre Pater. Sixty-six equine, sporting, and recent Native American works borrowed from private collections will hang from Friday, September 13 to Sunday, November 17, 2019. The closing day will coincide with the Keeneland Sporting Art Auction in that city.
Mr. Pater will give a talk on Saturday, September 14, the first full day of the exhibition. He has been described by many as the heir to the late Sir Alfred Munning’s throne, and a glance at his racing and hunting works are convincing evidence that the comparison is valid.
In 2017 Pater’s one-man show at the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg, Virginia, “In a Sporting Light,” displayed a collection of his works from around the country that exhibited his mastery of the use of light and texture, and his seemingly effortless accuracy with anatomy and movement—be it equine, foxhound, or human. Pater possesses that rare ability to portray those subtle postures and attitudes in his living subjects that translate into realism, even when daubed in broad, bold brush strokes.
His works have been fetching the highest prices of all living painters, European or American. His foxhound and racing paintings in the 2018 Keeneland Sporting Art Auction, brought from $25,000 to $40,000, putting Pater squarely in a league with the masters of recent centuries.
Born in Poland, Andre Pater graduated Summa Cum Laude in architecture from the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts and came to New York. While working for a time as an architectural designer at a firm in Dallas, he was drawn to the Arabian horse world there. He’d been familiar with the breed from Poland, which has a rich tradition of Arabian breeding, and had drawn and painted Arabian horses for years. Considering his exceptional talent for fine art, those painting excursions must have exerted a powerful influence on the young man’s future. He moved to Kentucky in 1988, Thoroughbred breeding country and a sporting world of racing and foxhunting. Those subjects as well as cattle and wildlife absorbed his creative urges.
Pater’s list of clients is impressive, from ambassadors to sheiks to sporting institutions. In 1999, the Keeneland Racetrack in Lexington commissioned him to create a series of top stakes winning jockeys and owners over the past sixty years. The resulting pastels have been a hit at the track, and numerous life-style magazines have featured Pater and his work.
At the 2016 Keeneland Sporting Art Auction, a Pater pastel fetched the highest price of all the works sold. The artist was there to witness a spirited bidding war for his magnificent painting, Red Arrow, a Lakota warrior, circa 1870, draped in a buffalo robe and wearing a buckskin war-shirt decorated in locks of horsehair and scalps along his arm. The hammer fell at $276,000 for Pater’s Red Arrow. The Headley-Whitney exhibit will surely be one worth viewing.
Posted September 5, 2019