Photograph Maja Fus
Andre Pater: Polish-American, b. 1953
In the summer of 2002 sporting art collectors gathered at Sladmore Gallery in London for the chance to view and perhaps, if they were lucky, to purchase one of 31 works by an artist considered by many to be the greatest in the sporting art field since Sir Alfred Munnings. Andre Pater is considered to be the heir to the artistic throne vacated when the revered Munnings died in 1959, Polish born Pater shares the twentieth-century master’s gift for breathing realistic life into his subjects. As affirmation to that genius, the London exhibit sold out to a huge, enthusiastic crowd in only 21 minutes.
Conceived by Lord Hartington, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s, to expand the artist’s market and to offer British collectors the opportunity to purchase a Pater watercolor or oil, the overseas show saw 11 works going to English buyers and the rest to Americans. Two sale toppers rang in at $75,000 each, a remarkable price for contemporary sporting art. At Sotheby’s 2001 Sporting Art sale, an Andre Pater pastel of three hounds, which Greg Ladd (Cross Gate Gallery) had estimated would garner $15,000 to $20,000, brought $35,000, a record for a non-oil work by a living artist.
Andre Pater is certainly living the American dream. Upon graduating Summa Cum Laude, in architecture, from the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts, Pater came to New York. Shortly after his arrival in the United States, Pater moved to Dallas and worked as a designer for an architectural firm. Poland has a strong Arabian horse breeding tradition and Pater had drawn and painted the breed for years. As a result, he was drawn to the Arabian horse world in Texas and soon returned to the work that always fed his soul — painting. Upon moving to Kentucky in 1988, his focus shifted from Arabian Horses to Thoroughbreds. Being enthralled and embraced by the Thoroughbred racing world, Pater also discovered the ‘Sporting Life’. He began to depict racing, fox hunting, sporting dogs, cattle, and wildlife. Andre’s paintings and drawings speak for his artistic skill, inventiveness, and originality. Through his Zen-like observations he finds the essence of his subjects, and brings life to his work. His style ranges from detailed realism to action-filled, blurred images, which express the emotion of equine sports.
His impressive clients include the former British Ambassador William S. Farish, Darley America, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Coolmore Ireland and Keeneland Race Course. Looking for a change from the horse paintings dominating its walls —“something dignified, distinctive and different,” says Ted Bassett, Keeneland Trustee and retired Chairman of the Board — the venerable Lexington track commissioned Pater in 1999 to create a series of jockeys depicting Keeneland’s top 25 stakes-winning owners over the past 60 years. The pastels have been a big hit.
From Pater’s first one-man show at Cross Gate in 1992, he has exhibited and sold his work in places such as Aiken and Camden, South Carolina, Del Mar, California, and Saratoga Springs, New York. During the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, he hung a retrospective exhibit at the Polish Cultural Center in Atlanta and has won Best in Show at American Association of Equine Artists competitions at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia, and at the Kentucky Horse Park.
The artistic community has recognized Pater with numerous local and international publications. Spur, Keeneland Magazine, Kentucky Homes and Gardens, Bloodhorse, The Carlyle Hotel Magazine, Delta Magazine, Polo, and Canadian Thoroughbred have showcased his works. He has been featured twice in the “Equine Images” magazine. The Carlyle Hotel Magazine of New York and the British Cheltenham Racecourse publication have featured Pater in their recent issues.