Sporting art auction to showcase classic equestrian works

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Sir Alfred Munnings oil painting "Lord Astor's Broodmare and Foal" fetched the top price of $207,000 at last year's Sporting Art Auction in Keeneland.
Sir Alfred Munnings oil painting “Lord Astor’s Broodmare and Foal” fetched $207,000 at last year’s Sporting Art Auction in Keeneland.

Consignments are being accepted for this year’s Sporting Art Auction by Cross Gate Gallery at the Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky in November.

Last year’s gross sales totalled $2,824,085 with Sir Alfred James Munning’s signed painting, “Lord Astor’s Broodmare and Foal” selling for $207,000. Munning’s signed “Mon Talisman, Chantille, 1928” sold after the sale for $252,000. Two other pieces in the auction also fetched six-figure prices: Andre Pater’s “Early Summer” for $161,000, and “Longchamp Paddock” by renowned American sporting artist LeRoy Neiman sold for $138,000.

Art consignments are being accepted from around the world until July 1, for the sale on November 21. It will consist of 175 high-quality pieces of fine sporting art, American paintings and sculpture from a selection of both renowned masters and talented new artists.

Leroy Neiman's "Flat Racing", a high-temperature glazed ceramic tile mural, of 84” x 204”, fetched the top price of $291,000 at the 2013 Sporting Art Auction.
Leroy Neiman’s “Flat Racing”, a high-temperature glazed ceramic tile mural, of 84” x 204”, fetched the top price of $291,000 at the 2013 Sporting Art Auction.

Founded in 1974 by art enthusiast and University of Kentucky graduate Greg Ladd, Cross Gate Gallery specializes in equine-related sporting art.

Cross Gate’s Sporting Art Auction in the heart of the Bluegrass has risen to become the most high profile auction in the sporting art world. Ladd attributes the event’s success to the handpicked, high-quality inventory, and to Cross Gate’s collaboration with Keeneland.

“We bring an eye for quality to the table, personally evaluating each piece before taking it to Keeneland, one of the most prominent institutions in horse racing. Every player in the horse business lands at this notable establishment, one that also happens to be where  the most successful Thoroughbreds, including this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winners, were sold,” Ladd said.

Cross Gate’s first collaboration with Keeneland for the Sporting Art Auction came in 2013. Ladd’s art auction had a successful stint at Saratoga’s Fasig-Tipton from 1996-1998, but family commitments pulled him back to Lexington. Keeneland approached Ladd to bring the Sporting Art Auction home, too, and eventually, the two joined forces to run the auction at Keeneland.

In its three years at Keeneland, the auction has consistently turned a profit, selling unprecedented percentages of its collections. In 2015, 89 percent of the available lots were sold. More than 37 percent of those works brought final bids at or above their listed high estimate value.

Paintings are displayed in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion during both the track’s September and November sales, and during the October racing session, when many of horse racing’s elite converge on Lexington.

Sporting Art Auction

Hercules, by Ashley Collins, fetched the top price of $149,500 at the Sporting Art Auction in 2014.
Hercules, by Ashley Collins, fetched the top price of $149,500 at the Sporting Art Auction in 2014.

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