Deborah Butterfield, Horse, 1976

Signed Deborah Butterfield sculpture, Horse, 1976

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Artist:Deborah Butterfield (1949 - 9999)

Title:Horse, 1976

Medium:Mud & Straw Butterfield horse sculpture on Armature with Horseshoes

Image Size:86 1/2 in x 77 1/2 in x 24 in (219.7 cm x 196.8 cm x 60.9 cm)

Condition:In excellent condition, all elements sound.

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Gallery Price:
Item # 1928
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Historical Description of this artwork

Executed in 1976, Horse was created using mud and straw over a supportive armature and horseshoes.  Prone to using found objects and materials, Butterfield (Iowa, 1949-) took inspiration from her immediate environment and used what was available to her at her home and property in Wisconsin.  That same year, Zolla/Lieberman Gallery in Chicago became the first to hold a solo exhibition on Butterfield’s works, including Horse.  This work was included in her first show solo show.  A note about this work that I find personally whimsical is the subtle inclusion of horse shoes on the hooves of this piece.

During her early period of sculpture, Butterfield (Iowa, 1949-) focused on using raw, organic materials (e.g. mud, straw, clay) which, when formed and set to create her life-size horses, creates a fascinating, textured surface highlighting both the medium and the musculature of the horse itself.  The monumentality of the work is stunning and still manages to retain a sense of whimsicality and humor while addressing pertinent themes in the context of contemporary art.  According to John Yau, Butterfield’s horses “can be understood as both mythic creatures and as animals whose existence is closely tied to nature, the earth.”  Her use of mud and straw is especially pertinent as it draws a formal relationship between our conventional ideas on sculpture and Butterfield’s unique interpretation of horses as a her primary subject.  Its inherent strength is directly linked to its grandeur and scale, making this sculpture simultaneously poignant and dazzling; definitely an exceptional masterpiece for part of any collection.


Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago

Property of Jane & Lucy Lerner


1976 – Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago

Catalogue Raisonné & COA:
This Deborah Butterfield horse sculpture is fully documented and referenced in the below catalogue raisonnés and texts (copies will be enclosed as added documentation with the invoices that will accompany the final sale of the work) :

1.)     A Masterworks Fine Art, Inc. Certificate of Authenticity will accompany this work.

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Why Butterfield?

Butterfield is known for her horse sculptures from 'found' materials such metal or wood. Our original Butterfield Horse sculpture is life-sized and one-of-a-kind.

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Artistic Styles of Butterfield

Deborah Butterfield Complete Biography

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Deborah Butterfield (1949-9999)

Deborah Butterfield Biography

Deborah Butterfield is one of the world’s leading sculptures and teachers of fine arts, with a solid career and many honors to her credit. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Davis, in 1972, followed by her Masters of Fine Arts degree in 1973. In 1997, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Rocky Mountain College in Billings. This honor was repeated in 1998 by Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana. Butterfield’s teaching career began in 1974 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

In 1979, she joined the staff of Montana State University, Bozeman, as an assistant professor and in 1984 became an adjunct assistant professor and a graduate student consultant. Her honors and awards are numerous and include a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship in 1977; a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1980; a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship in 1980; a Citation for Excellence Award from the UC Davis and Cal Aggie Alumni Association in 1992; and an American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award in 1993.

Butterfield has exhibited across the United States and Europe. Her work is widely collected by private individuals and museums, and she has been commissioned to create site-specific sculptures by a number of significant museums and public sites, including the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Israel Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Oakland Museum; Urban Development Corporation of Boston, Massachusetts – Copley Square; the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, Minnesota; the Greenwich, Connecticut, Arts Council; the Portland, Oregon, International Airport; the Kansas City Zoo; and the Denver Art Museum. Exhibitions of Butterfield horses are also held by other museums and galleries all around the world.

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