American Contemporary (b. 1927)
Henry Koehler is widely acknowledged to be one of the finest living sporting artists in the world.
Koehler was born in Louisville, KY, in 1927. He studied at Yale University in New Haven, CT. He became interested in foxhunting while at Yale and learned to ride in 1950 in order to participate. He became a graphic artist in New York City after graduation, beginning his specialization in sporting subjects in 1952 with a commission from Sports Illustrated magazine to paint a regatta in San Diego, CA; he also illustrated for the periodicals The New Yorker and Town & Country. Much of his work depicted fox hunting, polo, racing, steeplechasing and numerous other field sport subjects.
These are also available via a donation to the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame—should you need an end-of-the-year tax deduction.
His first exhibition was in 1961 and since that time he has shown 58 times in London, Paris, Dublin, Johannesburg and throughout the United States. Racing and hunting come alive under his brush. He also offers us intimate, behind-the-scenes looks at jockeys, horses, dogs and the special accoutrements of each sport.
Koehler was a member of the Society of Illustrators in New York City, serving as its first vice president, and of the Yale Association of Fine Arts in New Haven. Koehler was a founding member, along with Jean Bowman, June Harrah, Wally Nall, Marilyn Newmark, Eve Prime, Richard S. Reeves, Sam Savitt, and Else Tuckerman, of the American Academy of Equine Art established in Middleburg, VA, in 1980 and now located at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.
He exhibited at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco and at prominent galleries and racetracks in New York City, California, New Jersey, Virginia, Kentucky, England, Ireland, France, and Italy. Institutions holding his work include The National Sporting Library in Middleburg, VA; the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, NY; the Museum of Hounds & Hunting at Morven Park in Leesburg, VA; and the International Museum of the Horse at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
He has painted several portraits of well-known polo ponies on commission but prefers to capture ‘the flavor, sound and smell of polo’. He is unique amongst contemporary artists in being able to capture with such intimacy the world of the horse, not only on the hunting field and racecourse, but also in the boot room, jockeys racing, and in his sensitive studies of polo games & pony lines.
His loyal following of collectors has included Ralph Lauren, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Paul Mellon, John Hay Whitney, President John Kennedy, the Duke of Beaufort, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, the Duchess of Cornwall, Senator Edward Kennedy, Mrs. George Baker, the Duchess of Windsor, the Bancroft Family, The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales.
His works can be seen at the National Racing Museum in Saratoga and at the National Horse Racing Museum at Newmarket in Great Britain.