The Berger Collection

James Ward, RA (1769-1859)
A Cossack Horse in a Landscape
Graphite and oil on paper, laid on panel
Signed with monogram at lower right, J.WARD. Watermark: W below a Strasburg Lily
13 3/4 x 18 in. (35 x 45.8 cm)

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James Ward was celebrated in his lifetime as a superb horse painter and frequently was commissioned to paint the favorite chargers and racehorses of the British aristocracy. The anatomical accuracy he imparts to his equines reflects his knowledge of George Stubbs’s work, but here the similarities end. In contrast to the older artist’s hyperrealist portrayals, Ward’s pictures are imbued with an atmospheric romanticism, as in this painting of a Cossack horse in a windswept landscape. The horse is carefully described, from its dappled gray markings and head with prominent bone structure, to its large knees and hooves. The tail and mane are more loosely brushed, as is the surrounding terrain, whose contours are only suggested by Ward’s expressive dabs and swirls of oil pigment.


Private collection, U.K.; Christie's, London, April 11, 1997, lot 38

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