The Metropolitan Museum of Art | 1000 Fifth Avenue
Eight paintings by George Stubbs (1724–1806) have been lent to the Metropolitan Museum by the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, while its Louis I. Kahn building is closed for renovation until 2016. The works are shown together with British old master paintings from the permanent collection.
Stubbs's sporting pictures form part of the most important collection of British art outside the United Kingdom. Numbering more than two thousand paintings, and many thousands of drawings, watercolors, prints, rare books, and manuscripts, the collection was formed by Paul Mellon (1907–1999) and presented by him to Yale University. Mellon particularly admired the sensitive, highly observant artist, and bought his first Stubbs in 1936. He eventually owned nearly two hundred of the artist's works. Mellon's enthusiasm for the once-neglected Stubbs led to a major reassessment of the artist's achievement.
Stubbs, the son of a Liverpool currier, was self taught. In the 1740s he made anatomical drawings at York County Hospital. In the later 1750s he dissected and minutely examined the carcasses of horses, preparing detailed studies which he took with him when he moved to London about 1759. The drawings of the anatomy of the horse probably won him his first major commissions. He painted the famous Whistlejacket (National Gallery, London) and, in 1762, Horse Attacking a Lion (Yale Center for British Art), both for the Marquis of Rockingham. He also prepared all of the engravings for the 1766 book Anatomy of the Horse. Stubbs depicted both figures and a wide variety of animals with an uncommon awareness of their particular qualities.
We welcome the opportunity to show such fine examples of sporting art, particularly as the genre is largely unrepresented in the Metropolitan's collection.
Sun - Thurs 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Fri - Sat 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM