‘Big Race: The Contemporary Vision of Clarice Smith’ at NSLM

The museum's new focus gallery is on display through March 31

The National Sporting Library & Museum recently announced the January 11, 2024, opening of a new focus gallery at its Middleburg, Virginia, location.

“Big Race: The Contemporary Vision of Clarice Smith,” contemplates the impact that Clarice Smith’s (American, 1933–2021) artistic vision had on equine art. Four compelling paintings by Smith are on loan to complement the three-dimensional horse racing screen in the National Sporting Library & Museum’s collection.

Inspiration and context

“Gallop,” 2009, a five-panel screen, depicts horses racing neck-and-neck with thundering hooves rushing at the viewer in a halo of vibrant orange and flying gold and copper metallic dirt. This screen melding Smith’s fine art into a three-dimensional object is the only one she created with this subject matter.

Clarice Smith (American, 1933–2021) “Gallop,” 2009 oil with gold and copper leaf on canvas, on 5-panel screen.
Image from NSLM

To provide context to the work, three of the paintings are generously on loan from the artist’s son, David Bruce Smith, the founder and president of The Grateful American Foundation: “Le Vainqueur,” 1995; “Dead Heat,” 1999; and “Leaving the Gate,” 2011.

The largest painting in the focus gallery is a 36 1⁄2 x 76 1⁄2-inch oil on canvas from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. It is titled simply “Big Race,” 2001, and is the inspiration for the exhibit, which runs through March 31, 2024.

An NSLM Members Reception for this exhibit will be held 5:30–7:30 pm on Saturday, February 10, 2024.

To become a member of NSLM in order to attend, or to RSVP if you are already a member, please contact Development & Events Manager Emily Tye at [email protected] or (540) 687-6542 x 26.

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