Christine M. Cancelli (b. 1950 – ) is a renowned equine and sporting artist. She’s had a long and varied career involving horses and art, and has been described as “one of America’s premier sporting artists.” She started drawing at a very early age, copying the illustrations of Paul Brown, C.W. Anderson and Sam Savitt, which sparked her love of horses. At seventeen, she got a job as a junior graphic artist in NY City, then as one of a stable of artists creating original works of art for Karl Mann Associates, in his enormous loft on 6th Avenue & 13th Street. It was a terrific learning experience. She took a year off to travel in Europe, touring the great museums of Italy, France, England, and Spain. Although largely self-taught, she studied French Academic painting at the atelier of Michael Aviano, then portrait painting as John Howard Sanden’s monitor at the Art Students League in New York City. She also learned to ride – in the heart of Manhattan! It wasn’t long before her paintings began to reflect her lifelong love of horses, but finding equine subjects in the city wasn’t easy. Carriage horses in Central Park were dreary and uninspiring. Eventually she discovered the sleek thoroughbreds racing at Aqueduct and Belmont Park, where she saw three Triple Crown winners in one decade. After seeing a retrospective of Sir Alfred Munnings at the Wildenstein Gallery in 1983, she was so inspired she quit her job to pursue a career as a sporting artist. She’s never looked back!
Ms. Cancelli has painted all types of horses, from Eclipse Award champions to backyard ponies. Her client list reads like a Who’s Who of Turf and Field: Ralph Lauren, Mr. & Mrs. George Strawbridge, Mr. William Pape, Mr. & Mrs. Jonathan Sheppard, Mrs. John B. Hannum, Mrs. Miles Valentine, Mrs. Betty Moran, Mr. Ogden Phipps, Jr., Ms. Jacqueline Mars, Mr. & Mrs. George Hundt, Jr., Mr. & Mrs. Jeffrey Stover and Mr. & Mrs. Christian Huber.
Ms. Cancelli was specially commissioned to create original sporting pictures for Ralph Lauren’s flagship stores in New York, Philadelphia and Tokyo, Japan. Her corporate clients include Polo/Ralph Lauren, the USET, The National Steeplechase Association and Fair Hill International.
- 2020 Hindsight: 40 Years of the American Academy of Equine Art, The National Sporting Library and Museum, Middleburg, VA, 2021 – 2022
- American Academy of Equine Art Fall Juried Exhibition, Middleburg, VA, 2019
- American Academy of Equine Art Fall Juried Exhibition, Tryon, NC, 2018
- “Virginia Hunts,” Invitational Exhibition, Morven Park, Leesburg, VA, 2018
- American Academy of Equine Art Fall Juried Exhibition, Aiken Center for the Arts, Aiken, SC., 2017
- “The Chronicle of the Horse in Art,” The National Sporting Museum & Library, Middleburg, VA, 2016
- “Dogs In Art,” Group Exhibition, Frost & Reed, New York, NY, 2006
- “Best In Show,” her international debut, Frost & Reed, London, England, 2005
- “A Canine Exhibition,” a two-artist exhibition at Frost & Reed, New York, NY, 2004
- A One-Man Equine Art Exhibition, The Kentucky Horse Park Museum, Lexington, KY, 1987,
Ms. Cancelli maintained a sporting art gallery in Saratoga Springs, New York for six summers, from 2004 – 2008, and 2016. She exhibited regularly in Saratoga at Crossgate Gallery, Beresford Gallery and The Saratoga Gallery of Fine Art.
Ms. Cancelli’s paintings have appeared on the cover of the The Chronicle of the Horse nine times.
She illustrated “Foxhunting, How to Watch & Listen,” by Hugh Robards, published by Derrydale Press, as well as several children’s books.
She wrote and illustrated a foxhunting story, “When a Day in January with Radnor Turns to Art,” for The Chronicle of the Horse, as well as a review of the George Stubbs exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art.
Her illustrations have been featured in The New York Times and Reader’s Digest, (Full page Belmont/Triple Crown cover, April 28. 1986) and articles about her work have appeared in American Artist, Town & Country, Spur Magazine, Equine Images and The Hunt. Her artwork can also be seen in “A Centennial View,” by John Strassburger, “Equestrian Style,” by Vicky Moon and “A Bright Hunting Morn” by Collin O’Neil.
She was one of the NSA’s official photographers from 1985-1990. Her photographs have appeared on the covers of numerous magazines, including the coveted spot on Covertside, the MFHA’s official magazine.
Ms. Cancelli has been a Signature Member of the Academy of Equine Art (AAEA) since 1993, and served on its board from 2017-2019. She’s an Associate Member of The Pastel Society of America (PSA). She’s also a member of Oil Painters of America (OPA).
Ms. Cancelli lives on a small farm in New Jersey, where she maintains a studio. She’s close to Monmouth Park and the Monmouth County Hunt, giving her easy access to her two favorite subjects, racing and foxhunting.