Two Coachmen at Royal Ascot signed 'Henry Koehler' (lower left) and dated '2003' (verso) oil on panel 20 x 25cm (7 7/8 x 9 13/16in).
Provenance: With Rafael Valls Limited
The American artist Henry Koehler was born in 1927 in Louisville, Kentucky. His family came from Alsace-Lorraine, France, and emigrated to the US during the 19th century. While he received no formal art training, his early aptitude for draughtsmanship flourished naturally. He graduated from Yale in 1950 and started work as a graphic artist including illustrations published by "The New Yorker", "Town and Country", and "Sports Illustrated".
He was introduced to riding in 1950 and since then has been a committed horseman. His summers were spent sailing in American or Mediterranean waters and between 1956 and 1959 he travelled in Europe and Asia, documenting the activities of the US Air Force. Henry Hoehler is a keen race-goer and enjoys visiting England's National Hunt and flat-racing courses.
He has painted several commission portraits of well-known thoroughbreds but prefers genre pieces depicting horse-racing, polo games, and hunting in the field with horses. He has become noted for his sensitive studies of jockey figures before and after their race. His work is known not only for its accuracy and atmospheric qualities, but also for the intimate rendering of related objects such as a jockey's silks, and a hunter's boots, whip and saddle. His subjects range from jockeys and racing to polo, fox hunting and fishing, dogs and other animals, and garden and still life scenes.
Koehler has held many one-man exhibitions since 1961 at venues including London, Paris, Florida and South Carolina. His work is to be found in the collections of Ralph Lauren, Lord Hanson, Nina Campbell, Mark Birley, HRH The Prince of Wales, and the late Duke and Duchess of Windsor. In 1974 he was commissioned to design the 10 cent US postage stamp commemorating the 100th Kentucky Derby. Champions he has painted include Riva Ridge, Secretariat, Key to the Mint, and Stage Door Johnnie. His works are in the collections of the National Racing Museum in Saratoga and the National Horse Racing Museum in Newmarket.