While the title of the Bruce Museum's
new exhibition "Saddle Up! Horsing Around at the Bruce Museum" may seem a bit irreverent, the approximately 30 works of art featuring the horse mats
are more than sheer whimsy.
On view in Greenwich, from July 1 through Sept. 25, the equine artworks cover several centuries and encompass a wide range of media -- from a Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) tomb sculpture of a male equestrian figure to a 20th-century photograph by Garry Winogrand of a woman nuzzling a police horse.
The title for the show comes from a Bruce Museum contest, the first launched on the museum's Facebook site, to name the exhibition of horse-themed artworks from the permanent collection. The winning entry was submitted by Matt Farina. Other top picks were Horse Show: Equine Art from the Bruce Museum by Pamela Meharry and Whoa Horsey! by Steve Linderoth.
The exhibition, which is on view in the Bantle Lecture Gallery, is organized into four sections that highlight race horses, work horses, sport horses and resting and wild horses. Horse racing is represented in the Museum collection by several unusual objects including 19th-century European textile remnant of a horse race and an extraordinary carved Meerschaum pipe that was commissioned by John Welles Coggeshall, a Rhode Island textile merchant and avid racehorse breeder, to commemorate the champion stallion "Direction." The pipe is one of five Meerschaum pipes to be included in the exhibition.
The "Work Horse" theme highlights equines used in farming, fishing, military and police work. The "Sport Horse" section is comprised of fox hunting paintings and prints, polo ponies and a show horse with all of his trophies and ribbons.
The final section of the exhibition, "Resting and Wild Horses," includes a local scene of a previous era, Simka Simkhovitch's painting Early Morning in Connecticut, 1840, which depicts two horses grazing near Greenwich Avenue.
The exhibition Saddle Up! Horsing Around at the Bruce Museum is supported the Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund.