Kentucky Horse Park To Present A 60-Year Retrospective By The World's Premier Photographer Of Horses

Feb 25, 2011 - 5:59 AM

LEXINGTON, KY (February 24, 2011) Famed novelist James Michener once wrote, “Though equus has fired the imaginations of painters from the prehistoric hunter-artists of Altamira to Leonardo da Vinci, Velazquez, Goya and Picasso, still in the history of photography no cameraman has recorded the horse with such excitement and personal style as has Robert Vavra.  His photographs are works of art; they are interpretations of the horse as perceptive as those done by Stubbs and Remington.  They are a joy to see, because they evoke the inner nature of the horse.”

Today Vavra is universally recognized as the world’s premier photographer of equines, and his work will be the focus of the Kentucky Horse Park’s next exhibition, Vavra’s Vision: The Equine Images of Robert Vavra, Mar 19-May 30 in the International Museum of the Horse – a Smithsonian Affiliate. The exhibition is being presented courtesy of the International Institute of Photographic Arts.

By portraying the horse in his fresh and very personal way, Vavra has become an icon in his own lifetime. He is the author of 37 books accounting for more than 3 million volumes in print, in eight languages. This retrospective exhibition will delve into the world that Vavra has created through his lens over the last 60 years while circling the globe. In photographs, in film and in print, his images capture the strength, beauty and wisdom of the horse.

A public lecture and book signing with Vavra will be held on Saturday, March 19 at 10:30am at the Kentucky Horse Park.

For more information about this exhibition, contact the Kentucky Horse Park’s International Museum of the Horse at 859-259-4232. Updates will also be posted on the Kentucky Horse Park’s Facebook page.  For more information on Robert Vavra, go to 

What the critics say about Robert Vavra’s work:

“Internationally acclaimed photographer Robert Vavra’s story is amazing…”  — CNN

“Robert Vavra…might well have been a character Ernest Hemingway invented for one of his books set in Spain…Vavra is elegant in the way people are when everything extraneous has been burned away by the fires and acids of a passionate life.”  — THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

“I did like Robert Vavra’s book not only for its so very good photographs but for the text as well. He’s no ordinary fellow, obviously…” — NORMAN MAILER

“Seldom is found in one person an author of Vavra’s caliber, a photographer unparalleled and a sensitive chronicler of animal behavior…” — UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL

“During my lifetime I have met dozens of writers and photographers in dozens of different countries. But I have encountered no one who could both write and photograph with the artistry of Robert Vavra.”  — JAMES A. MICHENER

“Vavra’s photographs vault the travel barriers of our strange times…” — THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Vavra’s pictures and words are emotional, romantic and grand.” — COSMOPOLITAN

“I am a great admirer of Robert Vavra and love his beautiful photographs and books. He is a wonderful artist, a poet…” — LENI RIEFENSTAHL

“…exquisite photographs…” — THE WASHINGTON POST

“…the photographs are not only stunning artistic success, but more wonderfully, Vavra’s writing is equal to his enterprise.” –THE LOS ANGELES TIMES

“The focus is personal…poetic…”  — NEWSWEEK

“…enlightening stories and pictures…what beautiful intimate close-ups.”  — ALFRED EISENSTAEDT

“…remarkable photos…”  — BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB

“They are superb, totally unhackneyed…” — THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“…superlative pictures…”  — THE SATURDAY REVIEW

“…exquisite…confirms the existence of a pictorial genre that can only be called Vavra-esque – different in kind from all others.”  — JAN MORRIS, THE LONDON TIMES

“Each of them a masterpiece…”  — THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER

“…glorious photographs singular in their artistry…”  — PBS

“Robert Vavra is one of these artists, part magician, part alchemist, who is able to create a series of photographs in unforgettable compositions. Only visible are the dunes, the blinding fields of flowers and the vast sky, the epic intimacy of Robert Vavra’s vision.”  — PETER USTINOV

“Robert Vavra has moved the mighty and the masses. His photographs are so loved that most of his thirty-three books have never gone out of print, and the words in them have been translated into ten languages from Japanese to Swedish…Peter Ustinov called him an alchemist with his camera. Ernest Hemingway was his friend; Princess Grace of Monaco, Yehudi Menuhin, Ustinov and James Michener wrote his forewords. Michener says there is no better photographer. The book they did together, IBERIA, was more than a year on the New York Times best seller list…”  — THE ADVOCATE AND GREENWICH TIMES

“…photographs of dazzling artistic beauty.”  — GOOD MORNING AMERICA


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