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Rysdyk's Hambletonian

A work made of oil on canvas.

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.


after 1876


Artist unknown
American, 19th century

About this artwork

Hambletonian (1846–1876) was one of the most famous trotters in American racing history. His fame endures today, as he is the progenitor of many current harness-racing horses. Here the horse is posed with his owner, William M. Rysdyk (1809–1870) in his stable in Chester, Orange County, New York. Rysdyk was a hard-working farmhand who saved enough money to buy a mare and colt from his employer in 1849. The bay colt proved to be very fast, and soon demand grew for Hambletonian’s stud services. Supposedly, crowds traveled hundreds of miles for a glimpse of the horse through a narrow, gated window in his stall, which was fiercely guarded by the eccentric and suspicious Rysdyk. The horse’s fame led to a series of portraits with him with his owner. This picture was probably painted from an engraving published in 1876, just a few days after Hambletonian’s death.

On View

American Art, Gallery 227


Artist unknown


Rysdyk's Hambletonian


United States




Oil on canvas


63.5 × 76.2 cm (25 × 30 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Rudyard Boulton

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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