2020 Fine Sporting Art, American Paintings, and Sculpture
28| Edward Troye (Swiss/American, 1808-1874)
Signed & dated September 23, 1868
Oil on canvas, 25" x 30"
$30000. - $50000.
Provenance: Dr. Levi Herr, Forest Park Farm, Lexington, Kentucky Kennedy Galleries, New York Frost and Reed
Signed & dated September 23, 1868
Illustrated: Alexander MacKay-Smith, The Race-Horses of America: 1832_1872, Portraits and Other Paintings by Edward Troye, Saratoga Springs, NY: National Museum of Racing, 1981, page 294. Exhibited: Frost and Reed Exhibition of Fine Sporting Paintings, April 22 _ May 6, 1986, Kentucky Derby Museum, Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky. In the Aug. 31, 1867, issue of Turf, Field and Farm, an advertisement discussed Troye?s traveling to Europe and painting bloodstock for interested parties. Finding no takers, Troye returned to Lexington, Kentucky, to complete a commission for Dr. Levi Herr of his prized Standardbred, Mambrino Patchen. Herr, a veterinarian who one writer for The Spirit of the Times said, ?If asked who is the best horseman in America, we should unhesitatingly say Dr. L. Herr,? is credited with beginning the practice of breaking racehorses as yearlings and was insistent on breeding Thoroughbreds and trotters together to improve the breed. American Eclipse, Messenger, Duroc, and Sir Archy are just some of the names in Mambrino Patchen?s pedigree, and he was prized from the day he was foaled. A champion in the show ring as well, he was sold to John K. Alexander for $1,500, then a record price for a trotting yearling. Just a year later, Herr bought the horse back to be the premier stallion at his Forest Park Farm in Lexington. Herr published catalogues of his bloodstock annually, mostly revolving around Mambrino Patchen, who commanded up to $200 for a breeding session, a large sum at the time. As John Hervey notes in The American Trotter on page 202, ?His popularity from the outset had been pronounced, and he left behind a large family of which the majority of his daughters remained in Kentucky as its most successful broodmares; while his sons, because of their beauty, style, and show-ring qualities, were sold to go to all parts of the Union. The career of Mambrino Patchen [continued with] the great influence he exerted as a progenitor ? his blood today being carried by practically all our modern champions.? Mambrino Patchen sired 25 offspring that took standard records, all trotters. His 57 sons sired 166 trotters and 47 pacers with standard records while his daughters produced 146 trotters and 21 pacers with standard records. Hervey goes on to note (page 206), ?But the glory of Mambrino Patchen accrued through his daughters, which as a band were not only the premier producers of their generation, but unsurpassed by any other, before or since, most particularly in the carrying power of their blood and its prolonged influence. It is practically impossible to tabulate the pedigree of a modern champion without continually encountering them until their presence has become akin to a matter of course and their names not only household words but, it may fairly be said, assured of immortality.? On May 24, 1891, The New York Times ran Herr?s obituary, opening with, ?Kentucky?s pioneer trotting horse breeder, Dr. L. Herr, the man who bred the famous Mambrino Patchen, is dead.? Shortly thereafter his Forest Park Farm in Lexington, located on land between South Limestone and the parallel railroad tracks across from the University of Kentucky, was auctioned off over two days. The first day the land was sold; the second day the contents of the house, with which this painting would have been included.
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