August 22, 2003

Scott Leighton's 1880 oil painting "Queen of the Turf Maud S., driven by her owner, Commodore William Vanderbilt" in HTA art auction

The rarest oil painting available in world harness racing today is one of 212 works of art to be exhibited and sold in Lexington, KY, the week of September 22.

The painting was commissioned for $8,000 in 1880, the year Maud S. set her first world trotting record, by owner William Vanderbilt, who asked famed Currier & Ives artist Scott Leighton to paint him driving her.

Leighton’s oil on canvas, 23 ˝ by 36 inches, became Vanderbilt’s artistic pride and joy. Maud S. subsequently lowered the world mile mark six more times over a five year span.

Between races, Vanderbilt drove Maud S. in Central Park and on the old Harlem River Speedway in New York. He later sold her for $40,000 to Robert Bonner, who owned the storied mare until her death in 1901.

After Vanderbilt’s death the painting hung in the Portland, Maine, Museum of Art, and on September 28 at Tattersalls it will acquire a new owner in Harness Tracks of America’s annual art auction in Tattersalls Sales Pavilion for the benefit of the HTA College Scholarship Fund. Two other Scott Leighton oil paintings – one a small oil of a stallion, painted around 1880, and the other a large oil of a mare and foal titled "Feeding Time," done around 1885 — will be sold in the HTA auction.

Please contact Sable Downs at (520) 529-2525 or at [email protected] for a high resolution image of the picture above.

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