Smart Talks

Exhibiting Horses at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago

M. Elizabeth Boone

28. 02. 2023
Knihovna Hanse Beltinga

Betsy Boone is a professor of the History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture who studies nineteenth and early twentieth-century art in the United States, Spain, and Latin America. She is the author of Vistas de España: American Views of Art and Life in Spain, 1860-1914 (2007) and „The Spanish Element in Our Nationality“: Spain, America, and the World’s Fairs and Centennial Celebrations, 1876-1915 (2019), in addition to numerous articles on art, photography, and print culture in western Europe and the Americas. She loves animals, especially cats and horses, and is an avid horseback rider..

Exhibiting Horses at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago

Hundreds of horses went to Chicago for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Mustangs appeared in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, Arabians performed in the similarly imaginary Wild East Show, Standardbreds raced in the Columbian Free-for-All in nearby Washington Park, and Clydesdales walked placidly from their stalls to stand before agricultural judges in the Livestock Pavilion. Horses also appeared in paintings exhibited in the Fine Arts Building, as sculpture decorating the fair’s buildings and grounds, and as photographic demonstrations of animal motion in the photographs of Eadweard Muybridge. This lecture will explore how the exhibition of animals at world’s fairs led to our expectations about how animals should be seen and exhibited today.

The Horseman: Christmas, 1893, December 14, 1893

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