Richard Stone Reeves (American, 1919-2005)
    Whisper Fleet, J. Cruguet Up, 1979
    Oil on canvas
    22 x 28-1/4 inches (55.9 x 71.8 cm)
    Signed and dated lower right: Richard Stone Reeves 79
    Titled lower left: Whisper Fleet / J. Cruguet Up

    One might say that it was Richard Stone Reeves' destiny, plain and simple, to become an equestrian painter. Born in Manhattan in 1919, he descended on his father's side from the eighteenth-century master portraitist Thomas Sully; from his mother, who raised Standardbreds, he acquired a passion for horses, solidified on regular outings to Belmont Park near his childhood home in Garden City, Long Island. After graduating from Syracuse University in 1941 with an art degree, Reeves entered the U.S. Navy during World War II, an experience which effectively launched his career as an equine painter: both his portrait of Armed, "Horse of the Year," which appeared on a 1948 LIFE cover, and his service under superior officer Bob Johnson, President of Roosevelt Raceway, led to numerous commissions. Indeed, for over sixty years, Reeves painted the country's most famous horses -- Buckpasser, Ruffian, Secretariat, and Spectacular Bid among them -- and its most famous jockeys -- including Lester Piggot, Bill Shoemaker, and Ron Turcotte -- for illustrious clientele, notably Paul Mellon, W. Averill Harriman, Allaire DuPont, and Harry Guggenheim. His works claim center stage at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York. Heritage is honored to be offering three important Reeves paintings in this Signature American Art Auction, including the present lot, Whisper Fleet, 1979.

    The Thoroughbred Whisper Fleet (b. 1976) was sired by Restivo and out of the broodmare Spectator Fleet. For her owner and breeder, the New York investment banker Townsend B. Martin, Whisper Fleet achieved just over $135,000 in winnings. Reeves depicts her with the well-known French-American jockey Jean Cruguet (b. 1939), whose racing victories, both nationally and internationally, are staggering and include the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park (1969); the Prix Vermeille in France (1972); the Champion Stakes in England (1973); the Canadian International Championship in Toronto (1978, 1989); and, his greatest accomplishment, the U.S. Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes) with the two-year-old colt Seattle Slew (1977). In Whisper Fleet, Reeves employs one of his favorite compositions, showing the sleek black filly and her focused jockey in profile -- a perfectly calibrated composite machine of brains and brawn -- offset against the pastoral landscape of the racetrack.

    Estimate: $12,000 - $18,000.

    Condition Report*:

    Unlined canvas; Aside from a few areas of light craquelure, work remains in excellent condition; under UV exam, there appears to be no previous restoration. Framed Dimensions 27.5 X 33.5 Inches

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    16th Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 864

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