The National Sporting Library and Museum’s spring exhibition, Andre Pater: A Matter of Light, could not be more anticipated by fellow sporting artists and aficionados alike. This retrospective, the second in twenty years, will display 45 works from private collections across the country.
Pater’s mastery of light and color in both pastels and oil has earned him the honor of heir to the throne British sporting artist Sir Alfred J. Munnings occupied in the last century. They not only shared the love of the color and energy of Thoroughbred horse racing, jockeys in bright silks, breakneck polo, foxhunting and hounds, and shooting sports, but serene pastoral landscapes of cows and farm animals to classic equine portraiture considered the mainstay of any sporting artist’s repertoire.
Painting representational realism with pastel is perhaps one of the most challenging tasks with this media. Deliberate, thoughtful grazing of colored chalk, some sticks an inch wide, across a rough, toothy surface leaves little room for misjudgments. Details require sharpening pieces into pencil points to describe the essential highlights of the horse’s shimmering coat to the glimmer in his eye. The variety of sable and bristle brushes a painter has worked in oil covers every technique yet is no less challenging in its own right to use the most appropriate brush to get the desired stroke of “light.”