American Pharoah Prints of Original Painting: Artist, Jessica Bader Leonard on Tuesday at Racing Museum

Gotcha.Marion E. Altieri, New York Writer

I knew that, if I wrote that Jessica Bader Leonard would be at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on Tuesday to sign prints, you might gloss right over this article.

(She’s a gifted artist, but you may not-yet know of her work.  Boy, are you going to regret blowing this opportunity, if you do blow it, in a couple of years…)

But I didn’t mention her first.  Cheeky monkey that I am, I used American Pharoah’s name to catch your eye.

Jessica Bader Leonard American PharoahBecause, well, you’ve heard of him.  You’re probably a fan(-atic) of the last Triple Crown winner, maybe even go to sleep, dreaming of ways to meet him.

So, you can’t meet him.  Right now.  Today.

BUT on Tuesday (August 23rd), from 10AM – 12PM, you CAN go to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York, and buy a gorgeous print of an original painting of him–AND get it signed by the artist.

You may not have heard of Jessica Bader Leonard–YET.  But she’s brilliant–her star is rising–so now is the time to strike, while that artistic iron is hot.  Also, you can watch the fascinating video that she created, of the very complicated process by which she paints, in layers:  the American Pharoah painting took over 140 hours.  Her children and husband missed their Mommy and wife…but her Muse called to her, and would not be denied.


RYDILLUC Jessica Bader LeonardI first met Jessica one year ago, as she came to Gary Contessa‘s barn at the Oklahoma Training Track.  She’d been commissioned to paint Rydilluc, the magnificent dark bay beast whom Gary had trained, who is Jennifer Contessa‘s soul mate.

Jessica brought over the painting, and both Jennifer and I cried.  Jennifer, because she was seeing her soul mate again.  Me, because his eye drew me in, and I could not look away.  And yes, as you gaze at the photo of the painting of Rydilluc, you’re thinking that it looks like a photo of the actual horse.

It is Jessica’s painting, the art of one who sees the eye of her subject–crawls in there–and takes up residence until her own spirit is ready to exit–no doubt, changed for the better, and forever.

This is the painting that graced our Live Auction at CAPTAIN Youth and Family Service’s annual Unbridled Affair in Saratoga in July.  (I’m on the Gala Committee, so I get to see stuff first, except for this time–the painting was unveiled at the Gala, amidst actual gasps everyone in the room.)  She wanted to show the Triple Crown winner immediately after he won the Belmont–but not the traditional, “crossing the finish line first,” or “winner’s circle” pictures.  She wanted to show us, instead, the soul of the Champion.

Are those tears flowing from his eyes?  Sweat?  Whichever–you actually can see American Pharoah’s soul in that eye…and it will give you a shiver.

A shiver you want to see in your Home–in your Life–every day for the rest of your Life.

Jessica tells us,

“…But there is something much more that makes a champion like American pharaoh.  And its not out there on the track.  It’s right here, it’s in this horse.  You can see it behind his eyes.  It’s in his soul and a part of his character, it’s his passion.  THAT is what I wanted to showcase.  A champion at the root of what makes him great.  Not his muscles, not his long powerful legs, his determination.  His drive.  His heart.  THAT is the true power of a champion.  That is American Pharoah.”

The original painting, BTW, fetched a nifty $4,500 at the Live Auction.  The prints of the painting will go for a mere fifty bucks, and they’re limited-edition, signed by the artist.

Were I you, I’d catch one of these babies while they’re available:

Line up before 10AM on Tuesday, August 23rd;
buy your print;
get Jessica to sign it.  

THEN you can relax for a few minutes and watch the video of the creation of the painting.

Then, you’ll have plenty of time to boogie over to Fasig-Tipton, for Gary Contessa’s third Clinic of the season,  “How Can We Do this Better?”

I suspect that the limited-edition prints will be gone-gone-gone before 10:30, friends.  (The artist MAY be willing to print a few more after the fact–but not enough more to take away from the “limited edition” value of the prints.  I’ll ask her for you–but only if you’re actually there when she runs out.)

Might you be the person to purchase #1?  The early bird catches the proverbial worm, race fans.  Be there, or be left out in the roundpen.X

WHO:  Jessica Bader Leonard
WHAT:  Signing, limited-edition prints of her original painting of American Pharoah.
WHEN:  Tuesday, August 23rd, 10AM – 12PM.  (But they’ll be gone by 10:30, so get there EARLY.)
WHERE:  National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs, New York
WHY:  ’’s American Pharoah.  It’s a collector’s print of a remarkable painting of the Triple Crown Champion.

For more information, call Karen Wheaton at the Museum:  (518) 584-0400