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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Painting: 21st century: Big Race
Big Race

Big Race
Clarice Smith
oil on canvas
36 1/2 x 76 1/2 in. (92.7 x 194.3 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Melvin and Ryna Cohen and the Funger Foundation, Norma Lee and Morton Funger
"I see the horse as a dynamic beautiful form; a combination of power and grace." Artist's statement, 2003

Clarice Smith loves horses and has created many paintings of equestrian events, including races, polo matches, and show jumping. In Big Race, she emphasized the fast-paced action of the event by painting the horses and their riders at close range. The huddled figures and intent expressions of the jockeys reveal the breathtaking proximity of the riders as they maneuver for advantage and head toward the finish line. The horizontal format of the canvas and Smith's lively brushstrokes underscore the drama of the race as we imagine the horses thundering around the track.

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