By T. D. Thornton
A large-scale, 152-year-old European oil painting titled Sheep in a Meadow has been donated to the upcoming Sporting Art Auction in Lexington, Kentucky, with the intention that 100% of the sale proceeds will benefit Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farms.
The signed and dated 36″ x 57″ oil-on-board painting by August Friedrich Albrecht Schenck (1828-1901) is expected to attract bidding in the $5,000-$7,000 range, according to the valuation listed in the fifth annual Sporting Art Auction online catalogue.
Organized in conjunction with Cross Gate Gallery of Lexington, one of the country’s foremost galleries of fine sporting art, the auction will be held in the Keeneland Association, Inc., sales pavilion on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 2 p.m.
In addition to the money raised for Old Friends from the sale of that single piece of art, Keeneland’s portion of the auction proceeds from hosting the event will benefit its non-profit initiatives, including the Keeneland Library Foundation.
You can view the entire online catalogue here (Sheep in a Meadow is Lot #39).
“We have a good client that we work with who’s a consignor, and this gentleman is really involved with Old Friends,” said Bill Evans Meng, the director of Cross Gate Gallery. “He really, really loves Old Friends and wants to do all he can for them, and we were happy to help because it’s a great organization. He’s kind of like us with the art world—we like and appreciate people who have a passion for things, so that really keeps us going also.”
Cross Gate spokesperson Catherine Ladd Kenneally, whose family owns the gallery, added in an email, “This is something we’ve never done but would like to continue to donate a piece (or two) each year to a chosen charity.”
Schenck, who was born in Germany but moved to France as an art pupil, became well known for his landscapes and paintings of animals in the mid-19th Century. Some of his works have been showcased in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
“It’s actually an interesting piece in that it’s a lot larger than most of his works that ever sell. It’s the largest of his I’ve personally seen; most of his are a lot smaller,’ said Meng. “So in that case, there’s a lot more to it, and it’s got good light, especially in the center, especially on the sheep. Light is something you always want to look for in a painting. The thing about this painting is that it has a wide range of appeal.”
Other notable works in the Sporting Art Auction are specifically related to horses and/or racing, and include Heading Home, a signed 30″ x 40″ oil-on-canvas by Andre Pater; A Morning’s Work, Newmarket Heath, a signed 15.25″ x 28.25 oil-on-canvas by Sir Alfred Munnings, and Jocks Room Colors, a 40″ x 30″ oil-on-canvas by LeRoy Neiman.
The auction will also feature works by such acclaimed artists as Henry Stull and John Frederick Herring Jr., plus contemporaries Larry Wheeler, Peter Howell, Richard Stone Reeves, and Quang Ho.