Detail of a work by John Grabach showing characters in dresses and suites watching horses racing

John R. Grabach

American, 1880-1981

Taking the Hurdles, 1938

Oil on panel

42 x 47 1/2 inches

Signed lower right

John R. Grabach was a celebrated artist during his early career, exhibiting at the annual exhibitions of major institutions and earning critical praise for his painterly style. Grabach’s early paintings from the 1910s show the influence of American Impressionism, with his painterly depictions of the Connecticut River and the New England countryside. His works from this period established his entry into the art world, as he exhibited frequently at the National Academy of Design, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Carnegie Institute, and the Art Institute of Chicago. During the early 1920s, Grabach set up a studio in New York and gravitated towards more gritty urban landscapes and social conditions that similarly inspired the Ashcan school artists John Sloan and George Bellows.

Taking the Hurdles is an important work by the artist and was selected among thousands of paintings to represent New Jersey in an exhibition for the IBM Building at the New York World’s Fair during the 1940 season. The exhibition presented the works of exceptional painters from each state, which were each purchased by IBM for their extensive art collection.

Detail of a work by John Grabach showing characters in dresses and suites watching horses racing