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John Tracy

Highly coveted by hunstmen and art collectors alike, John Martin Tracy’s paintings of field trials, bird hunts, highly pedigreed dogs and horses, human endeavor, and genteel tradition are stirring testaments to sport. Like his contemporaries Arthur Burdett Frost and Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, Tracy enjoyed critical and commercial success for these efforts, leading one New York Times reviewer to opine in 1895 that “J. M. Tracy was a painter to delight the heart of all sporting men . . . He painted the hunter before the flock of birds, the dog with tail extended and paw uplifted, as he stood quivering over the scent; and he did it all con amore, faithfully and with full understanding and knowledge of his subject.”

Of Mayflower lineage, John Martin Tracy was born and grew up in Rochester, Ohio, where he was raised chiefly by his maternal grandmother. Following studies at Oberlin College and Northwestern University, and military service during the Civil War, Tracy embarked on the first of two Parisian study sojourns in 1867. During the first half of his career, landscapes and portraits occupied his brush. A full-length portrait of his young French wife was exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1874.

Tracy eventually settled in Greenwich, Connecticut; later, perhaps as a result of failing health, he spent winters in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. This location was advantageous when it came to executing the many commissions offered by wealthy plantation owners in nearby Southern states, as was perhaps the case in Field Trials in North Carolina.

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