Carl Rungius
Fall Roundup, 1919
Bruce Museum Collection

Eadweard Muybridge
Animal Locomotion, Plate 632, 1887
Bruce Museum Collection

Horse and Rider, 618-907 CE, Tang Dynasty
Bruce Museum Collection

Saddle Up! Horsing Around at the Bruce Museum

July 2, 2011 - September 25, 2011

The name of this exhibition comes from our very first Facebook contest. Congratulations to Matt Farina for his winning submission! It was a tough decision and we’d like to recognize our other top picks: “Horse Show: Equine Art from the Bruce Museum” by Pamela Meharry and “Whoa Horsey!” by Steve Linderoth. Thanks to everyone who participated.

While the title of the exhibition Saddle Up! Horsing Around at the Bruce Museum may seem a bit irreverent, the approximately 30 works of art featuring the horse are more than sheer whimsy. The pieces 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 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.

This exhibition is supported the Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund.