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 Essie Leone Seavey Lucas  (1872 - 1932)

About: Essie Leone Seavey Lucas
 

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Lived/Active: Kentucky/Virginia/Vermont/Wisconsin      Known for: race-horse paintings, animals

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Leone Essie Seavey is primarily known as Essie Leone Seavey Lucas

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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, Virginia.

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, Kentucky cemetery.


Submitted March 2006 by Michael Perez, Art Historian for MP Consulting, Seagrape Fine Art. 

Sources include:

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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