LEXINGTON, KY (Nov. 19, 2014) – Large crowds, brisk bidding and the sale of the massive triptych “Hercules” for $149,500, including buyer premium, highlighted the second annual Sporting Art Auction, held Wednesday at Keeneland.                                                                             

The auction, a collaboration between Keeneland Association and Cross Gate Gallery of Lexington, realized gross sales of $2.25 million.

“The success of this auction confirms that there is a strong demand for quality sporting art,” Keeneland Vice President of Sales Walt Robertson said. “The contemporary and 20th century artists, such as Richard Stone Reeves and Peter Howell, sold extremely well.”

By American artist Ashley Collins, the sale-topping Hercules is a 96”x120” master oil which pays homage to the horse Sir Hercules, who overcame physical challenges to become a stakes winner. The piece depicts a figurative horse overlaid on layers of historical pages from the 1800s that were touched by those living concurrently with Sir Hercules.  

The Sporting Art Auction featured 175 high-quality lots representing fine sporting art, American paintings and sculpture by world-renowned artists. Seventy-five percent of the artwork sold, with 40 percent of those pieces bringing final bids above their listed high estimate value.

In addition to Hercules, three other pieces sold for six figures:

LeRoy Neiman’s “Bill Hartack Wins With Majestic Prince,” signed and dated 1969, the year Majestic Prince won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, sold for $143,750.

“Un Taureau Et Un Ours (A Bull and a Bear),” by noted French artist Isidore Jules Bonheur and first shown in the Paris Salon in 1857, brought $138,000. Bonheur is known to have produced only two of this subject in this size. One sat in the Luncheon Club of the New York Stock Exchange for decades and now resides in the Museum of American Finance in New York City. The second bronze is the one sold here.

Richard Stone Reeves’ “Three Kings,” an oil on canvas signed by the artist and depicting champions Nijinsky II, Spectacular Bid and Secretariat with grooms at Claiborne Farm, went for $126,500.