On the turf

Peter Curling Schooling Bumper, Thurles 2010 oil on canvas 91 x 132cm


Peter Curling is a technically accomplished artist and arguably one of our most commercially successful. He has buyers in Ireland, the UK and the US, and commands consistently good prices at auction. His €82,000 for Summer Exercise, Kileens at James Adam’s and Bonhams in 2006 has been exceeded only by two living Irish artists, Hughie O’Donoghue and Robert Ballagh. And despite considering his cartoons a sideline – ‘not something I want to specialise in’ – one, featuring champion hurdler Istabraq, was sold for well over IR£1 million at a charity auction in 2000. Yet, amongst many of the Irish art cognoscenti, he is regarded as ‘an equine artist’ (with the term ‘mere’ lurking nearby) and does not enjoy the acceptance or respect he deserves. He is not a member of Aosdána and his only submission to the RHA’s annual show was rejected.

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