Cecily Brown's “The Hound with the Horses' Hooves” on view in the Library Court
Visitors to the Yale Center for British Art will encounter a magnificent painting by Cecily Brown (b. 1969), recently acquired by the museum through the generosity of an anonymous gift. Inspired by the historic collections of Blenheim Palace, a three-hundred-year-old country estate in Oxfordshire, England, The Hound with the Horses’ Hooves (2019) offers a timely reinterpretation of the historical genres of landscape, sporting art, and animal painting that are well represented in the museum's collection.
This vivid reimagining of a traditional woodland hunt is characteristic of Brown’s gestural brushwork and expressive use of color. The subject of the hunt is fractured and at the brink of dissolution, the shapes of a hound and a horse racing loosely suggested in a blurring of figurative forms and abstract marks. Installed in the museum’s soaring, skylit Library Court, Brown’s painting serves as a thought-provoking foil to the surrounding eighteenth-century hunting scenes.
Brown is a leading contemporary painter whose work combines abstraction and figuration, transcending classical notions of genre and narrative by drawing on a wide range of art historical references. The Hound with the Horses’ Hooves was on view at Blenheim Palace from September 2020 through February 2021, as part of a major exhibition of new paintings that Brown had created in response to the estate and its collections.