The Irish equestrian artist and horse portrait painter Peter Curling was born in Waterford in 1955. His exceptional talent as a teenage artist led to his first exhibition in the racing centre of Lambourn at the age of 14, followed by sell-out shows in Dublin.
Not long after, Curling caught the attention of both Aylmer Tryon, art-dealer and founder of the Tryon Gallery, and the renowned horse portraitist Susan Crawford. Acting on their advice, Peter Curling went to Florence (like Niccolo D’Ardia Caracciola before him) where he spent two years studying drawing and fine art painting under the master artist Signorina Simi, a contemporary of Annigoni. He also learned the depiction of movement and speed from studying sculpture under John Skeaping.
Returning to the UK, Curling enjoyed several successful exhibitions in London and Ireland before deciding to relocate permanently to Ireland. In 1977, he moved to Tipperary, a famous horse-breeding and horse-training region and rapidly established himself as leading equine painter in the world of visual art in Ireland. For the next 15 years or so, Curling focused on almost exclusively on horse portraits, but such repetition understandably caused a degree of creative stagnation. His response was to widen both his subject matter and artistic locations. He spent more time on landscape painting and sought inspiration in Venice. In addition, he began producing cartoons and caricatures of individuals from the world of racing.
Peter Curling had his first London solo exhibition at the Tryon Gallery in 1978 and has shown there regularly ever since. His paintings of horses have also been exhibited in Lexington, Saratoga and New York. In 1992 he had a very successful exhibition in Dublin at Jorgensen Fine Art.
The auction record for a work by Peter Curling was set in 2006, when his horse-racing painting, entitled The Scarteen Point-to-Point, Kilfeacle, was sold at Christie’s, in London, for £66,000.