August 22, 2003
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