More than 60 works of art by famed equestrian illustrator Sam Savitt and bronze sculptures by the renowned sculptor Kathleen Friedenberg will be on display at the Westmoreland Davis Mansion at Morven Park, Leesburg, Va., from Sun. May 29 to June 25. The exhibition opening is 5 p.m. May 28; the $40 opening reception tickets can be purchased online at https://mhhna.org/.
Savitt (1917-2000), an accomplished and prolific American artist, illustrated more than 130 books during his 50-year career, wrote and illustrated 15 books, and co-authored two others. His Draw Horses with Sam Savitt is a classic instructional text on equestrian art, garnering him the position of official artist of the United States Equestrian Team. He painted portraits, illustrated advertisements and comic book covers, and also created a series of authoritative posters about horses, including his widely-sold “Sam Savitt’s Guide to Horses,” now in the Smithsonian Institution. Commissioned to design the official poster for the 1991 Kentucky Derby, his artwork is now ubiquitous, found on playing cards, key chains, note pads, calendars, linens, and lamp shades. In 1980 Savitt was one of 10 internationally-recognized equestrian artists who founded the American Academy of Equine Art in Lexington, Ky. In 1998 Sam Savitt received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Horseman’s Association. The Chronicle of the Horse featured Sam Savitt’s artwork on its magazine cover 31 times.
Kathleen Friedenberg, who started her career as a veterinary surgeon in England, has a background in medical and veterinary illustration, including three books and twenty covers on the Chronicle of the Horse. For twenty years she conducted an annual workshop of equestrian sculpture at the Kentucky Horse Park; in 2003 she taught the first of the Academy’s workshops at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine at New Bolton Center. In 2018 Kathleen was elected “Dean of Sculpture,” winning the Academy’s “Award of Excellence” for three consecutive years.
“This exhibit would be a rare honor for any museum,” says MHHNA Curator John Head. “Sam Savitt was a leader in his field both as a painter and as an advocate for equestrian sports.”
The Museum of Hounds and Hunting (https://mhhna.org), founded in 1985, seeks to preserve the rich North American heritage of hunting with hounds. It acquires and displays important artifacts related to this activity, providing a repository for them. By developing educational exhibits through research projects, hunting with hounds is viewed through the lens of the sport’s historical, sociological, and cultural heritage.
Admission to Savitt and Friedenberg’s exhibition May 29 to June 25 is free. The opening reception at 5 p.m. May 28 is $40. The artists’ works will be for sale with a share of the proceeds going to the sponsor, the Museum of Hounds & Hunting, North America. (The Museum of Hounds and Hunting, N.A., is a 501 (C)(3) nonprofit.)