During the 1930s Seabiscuit captured the public imagination with his improbable “rags to riches” racing career. At the outset of his career, neither his demeanor nor his relatively small size suggested future greatness, and he lost his first 17 starts. As a two-year-old, his winning record was slightly improved but still sporadic. A car salesman named Charles S. Howard purchased the horse in 1935, and entrusted him to trainer Tom Smith, known for his unorthodox methods. Seabiscuit eventually came into his own, winning 11 of 15 starts in 1937 and the most purse money of any horse, but lost out on the coveted title of Horse of the Year to the Triple Crown winner, War Admiral. The two horses met in a highly anticipated race in 1938, with 40 million people tuning in to the radio broadcast. Jockey George Woolf rode Seabiscuit to an upset win and 1938 Horse of the Year honors. He only raced one year each in 1939 and 1940, after which he was retired from racing, the all-time leading race earner with $437,730 in purse money from 89 starts. His story is the subject of the non-fiction book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand (2001), which was made into a movie in 2003.
Franklin Brooke Voss combined his family background in equestrian sports and art, becoming a prolific painter of horses and sporting subjects. Born in New York City, he grew up riding and foxhunting, and participated in both flat and steeplechase races as a young man. He also studied art at the Art Student’s League in New York. There he received a thorough grounding in anatomy, an interest that is evident in the naturalistic portrayal of both horses and humans. He vastly preferred on painting from life rather than from photographs. Socially well-connected, he completed more than 500 commissions of race horses, hunting horses and equestrian scenes in the period between 1920 and 1950, including portraits of famed racehorses Man O’ War and Citation and numerous paintings for members of the Whitney and Vanderbilt families. His work is in the collection of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York and he was the subject of an exhibition and catalog at the Museum of Hounds and Hunting in Leesburg, Virginia, in 1999.
The Sporting Gallery and Bookshop specialized in sporting books, paintings, prints and carvings by prominent sporting artists such as A.J. Dando, Paul Brown and Franklin Voss. The shop, located at 38 East 52nd Street in Manhattan, was founded in 1935 by Melville E. Stone II (1905-1989) several years after graduating from Yale University. Mr. Stone came from a publishing family in Chicago, where his grandfather, Melville E. Stone, founded the Chicago Daily News and co-founded the Associated Press. He closed the business in 1964 and retired to Maine.
Full publication information: “Publish’d and Copyright’d by The Sporting Gallery & Bookshop, Inc., New York, 1940. After the painting of Seabiscuit as a four year old in the Coll’n of Charles S. Howard, Esq.”
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall minor toning and wear.
Pedulla, Tom. “Seabiscuit: A True Rags-to-Riches Story.” 12 April 2016. The Jockey Club. https://www.americasbestracing.net/the-sport/2016-seabiscuit-true-rags-riches-story (18 December 2017).
Rives, Barclay, et al. “Franklin B. Voss.” Morven Park. 7 April 2000. http://www.morvenpark.org/voss.htm (31 October 2003).