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Deborah Butterfield

American, born 1949

Tarkio, 2011

  • On View


Dimensions: 96 × 101 × 50 in. (243.8 × 256.5 × 127 cm)

Gift of the Hurand Family and Museum purchase fund, 2011.131

For three decades the single subject of Deborah Butterfield's art has been the horse. Born the same day as the 75th running of the Kentucky Derby, Butterfield partly credits her birthdate as an inspiration for her subject matter. The horses also act as a symbolic self-portrait. All of her horses are mares and she explains that, “I first used the horse images as a metaphorical substitute for myself–it was a way of doing a self-portrait one step removed from the specificity of Deborah Butterfield." She began crafting horses by fastening wood and other materials together with wire to get the shape of the horse’s body. Then each piece would be cast in bronze, painted, and then reassembled into the horse shape using extensive photographic diagrams.

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