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    Description

    Randall Davey (American, 1887-1964)
    Race Track, circa 1935-55
    Pastel on paper
    38 x 24 inches (96.5 x 61.0 cm)

    PROVENANCE:
    The artist;
    National Audubon Society, New York, acquired from the above, 1964;
    Christie's, New York, July 2, 1985, lot 80;
    Thomas J. Carroll, acquired from the above;
    Estate of the above;
    Christie's, New York, March 4, 2010, lot 102;
    Private collection, New York, acquired from the above.

    EXHIBITED:
    Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico, (and elsewhere), "Randall Davey, Artist/Bon Vivant: A Retrospective Exhibition," December 1984-January 1985, no. 33.

    LITERATURE:
    Museum of Fine Arts, Randall Davey, Artist/Bon Vivant: A Retrospective Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1984, no. 33, illustrated as cover.

    Randall Davey became a leading figure in the vibrant artistic community in the Santa Fe. Unusual among the artists there, Davey eschewed the prevailing local taste for the Pueblo Indian cultural aesthetic, instead painting landscapes of the desert in all its seasonal variations. As the lone Robert Henri protégé to settle in Santa Fe, Davey made his home and studio an outpost for his non-resident realist-painter friends who regularly visited the area, including especially his close friend, John Sloan. Davey remained connected to the New York art world, exhibiting frequently at the National Academy of Design and other venues in the city. An early independent artist, Davey was elected an associate member of the National Academy in 1937, and was advanced to full membership the following year.

    By the early 1930s, Davey began painting pictures of racehorses, polo matches, and race track scenes, subjects for which he is best known today. In 1955 he reminisced that he had "always been interested in horses, but I didn't really start doing horse things until after I saw the Grand National Steeple Chase in England ... I think in 1930" (transcript, interview of August 31, 1955, archives of the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, as quoted in D.F. Hoopes, "Randal Vernon Davey [1887-1964]," in Randall Davey: Artist/Bon Vivant, a Retrospective Exhibition 1910-1963, exhibition catalogue, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1984, n.p.).

    Race Track evinces the vigorous and broadly painted brushstrokes that characterize Davey's horseracing pictures, as well as the aristocratic air of the race. While pictures such as this recall the George Bellows' famous polo scenes of the 1910s, Davey's style and approach are very much his own. His friend John Sloan wrote in 1951:

    "Randall Davey belongs to a vanishing breed of artist-the man who paints for himself. In his case, this is a particularly admirable characteristic, for with natural facility and great social charm, Davey could have chosen the easy way to success. Some artists are tempted to compromise when the Bitch Goddess beckons, say, in their forties, with a prize and a commission or two-and one understands while not condoning the decision of an artist who has struggled with poverty for twenty years before facing this dilemma.... It takes courage to be an independent" (John Sloan, "Randall Davey," New Mexico Quarterly 21 [Spring 1951], p. 20, as quoted in Hoopes, n.p.).


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2020
    3rd Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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