Country horse racing was a major sport in South Louisiana, and Rodrigue painted a large series of racing paintings in the early part of his career. In Cajun country the horses raced around coulees, gullies, bridges and under bridges, whereas only the professional country races were run around a track. This painting depicts two horses in a cajun landscape setting, reflecting Rodrigue’s established style.
Perhaps the scene represents the horses warming up prior to a race, as the horse depicted in the lead was the prize-winning chestnut gelding Art Work, ridden by jockey James Sam, who set a record on January 11, 1974 at the Delta Downs track in Vinton, Louisiana for the 1.5 mile. Art Work was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fellows, equestrian enthusiasts and devoted collectors of George’s paintings. The painting has remained in the family’s possession since 1977.
Rodrigue painted horses the same way he painted the trees, because as he commented, “they were both here before man. I don’t paint a horse to be a beautiful thing, but a strong, sturdy animal. When I began painting the horse, I wanted to show his strong sporting attitude.”
Oil on canvas
30 x 40 inches
Recently restored and newly available at Rodrigue Studios.