|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Essie Lucas was born in Vermont in 1872. She began fervently
painting animals when she was only a small child in
Vermont. She started to receive her formal art training at
one of the famous Boston art schools at the age of sixteen and later
studied under Scott Leighton (1849-1898), at the time, the most noted
painter of animals in the East. Leighton was known to have
started his working career involved in horse-trading at the early age
14 to pay for the start of his painting career. Consequently, the
two had much in common. |
Lucas specialized in the portrayal of all animal life. However,
it was her paintings on canvas of horses that made her so famous during
her lifetime. Mrs. Lucas had a great talent with the brush and
paintings by her, highly prized by their owners, hung upon the walls of
the homes and offices of numerous wealthy owners throughout the
country. As her notoriety grew, she painted thoroughbred and
standard-bred horses in various parts of the country. Lucas was
known to have lived and worked in New York in 1905.
She visited Kentucky for the first time in 1912, where she painted a
famous trotting mare , "Lou Dillion", for her owner, C. K. G.
Billings. She opened a studio/art gallery in Lexington, Kentucky
in 1916. Some years later she married William J. Lucas from
Kentucky, who was then manager of the Hereford Farms of Colonel E. H.
Taylor, Jr. near Versailles, Kentucky. She later moved to
Virginia where Mr. Lucas was manager of the Montpelier Farms of Mrs. T.
H. Somerville, formally Miss Marion du Pont, at Montpelier Station,
She was not only a most talented painter, but also, a lover of horses,
which no doubt contributed to her unusual success. In Kentucky
she painted a very fine portrait of "Man o' War" and had executed for
Colonel E. R. Bradley paintings of eight of his most famous horses and
also a family group of his horses. Late in her career, Lucas had
painted some excellent portraits of men and women. One notable
picture is a painting she made of Mrs. Marian DuPont Somerville,
mounted on her favorite hunter and surrounded by nine or ten of her
hounds, with the historic residence of Montpelier in the background.
Although she executed many paintings of trotting horses and thoroughbreds, Lucas considered her best work to be, August Belmont's 'Footprint Textile', owned by Mr. Monahan, Elliot Cowden's broodmares, and, a number of animals the property of Frank Bishop.
She was a most diligent and untiring worker and it was this
characteristic that caused her sudden death as she had suffered a
nervous breakdown as the result of over-taxation. At the time of
her death she had more commissions for paintings than she had
previously had in her entire life.
Essie Leone Seavey Lucas died in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin on January 17,
1932 and was later buried in the Lucas family plot in a Midway,
Submitted March 2006 by Michael Perez, Art Historian for MP Consulting, Seagrape Fine Art.
The Keeneland Library in Lexington, Kentucky, which specializes in material on thoroughbred horses
Woodford Sun Newspaper, Woodford, KY, obituary January 21,1932
The Blood-Horse Magazine, week ending January 23, 1932
Lexington Herald, February 8, 1916
The Thoroughbred Record, a weekly journal, Lexington, KY, January 23, 1932
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