Exhibitions

Big Race: The Contemporary Vision of Clarice Smith

Jan 11, 2024 - Mar 31, 2024

The focus gallery, Big Race: The Contemporary Vision of Clarice Smith, contemplates the impact that Clarice Smith’s (American, 1933–2021) artistic vision had on equine art. Four compelling paintings by the artist are on loan to complement the three-dimensional horse racing screen in the National Sporting Library & Museum’s collection.

Gallop, 2009, a 5-panel screen, depicts horses neck-and-neck and thundering hooves rushing at the viewer in a halo of vibrant orange and flying gold and copper metallic dirt. This screen melding Smith’s fine art into a three-dimensional object is the only one she created with this subject matter.

To provide context to the work, three of the paintings are generously on loan from the artist’s son, David Bruce Smith, the founder and president of The Grateful American Foundation: Le Vainqueur, 1995; Dead Heat, 1999; and Leaving the Gate, 2011. The largest painting in the focus gallery is a 36 1⁄2 x 76 1⁄2-inch oil on canvas from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. It is titled, simply, Big Race, 2001, and is the inspiration for the exhibit.

Clarice Smith (American, 1933–2021)
Gallop, 2009
oil with gold and copper leaf on canvas, on 5-panel screen
50 x 77 ½ inches
National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of Clarice Smith, 2015

Clarice Smith (American, 1933–2021)
Gallop, 2009
oil with gold and copper leaf on canvas, on 5-panel screen
50 x 77 ½ inches
National Sporting Library & Museum, Gift of Clarice Smith, 2015

Clarice Smith (American, 1933–2021)
Le Vainqueur, 1995
oil on canvas
24 x 36 inches
On loan from David Bruce Smith, The Grateful American Foundation

Clarice Smith (American, 1933–2021)
Le Vainqueur, 1995
oil on canvas
24 x 36 inches
On loan from David Bruce Smith, The Grateful American Foundation

Clarice Smith, (American, 1933–2021)
Big Race, 2001
36 1⁄2 x 76 1⁄2 inches
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Melvin and Ryna Cohen and the Funger Foundation, Norma Lee and Morton Funger

Clarice Smith, (American, 1933–2021)
Big Race, 2001
36 1⁄2 x 76 1⁄2 inches
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Melvin and Ryna Cohen and the Funger Foundation, Norma Lee and Morton Funger