Alvan Fisher (1792-1863)

Alvan Fisher (1792-1863)
American Eclipse

“AMERICAN ECLIPSE / Engraved after an Original Picture of Mr. Fisher’s in the Possession of Charles H. Hall, Esq. / Inscribed to the New York Association for the promotion of the Breed of Horses. / By their Obed’t Serv’t Alvan Fisher.”
Lower left, “Painted by A. Fisher”
Left center, “Published New York 1823”
Right, “Engd. by C.C. Wright”
10 x 13 inches (image)
11.5 x 13 inches (image with printed matter)
16.5 x 19.5 inches (platemark)
18 x 23 inches (sheet)

American Eclipse (1814–1847) was a New York-bred horse who participated in a celebrated North-South racing duel in 1823 against Sir Henry, of North Carolina. As Collins’ Kentucky history puts it, American Eclipse “never lost a race.” The horse was retired, sold to Virginia interests, then sold to Kentucky breeders, standing at farms in Woodford County and in Shelby County, where he died and his heart is believed buried. He sired such notables as Medoc, Black Maria, Panic and Zenith.


Alvan Fisher was a Massachusetts native and an early practitioner of landscape and genre painting. He was one of the earliest artists to portray prize cows and horses. He exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum, the National Academy of Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Charles Cushing Wright (1796-1857), a Maine native, was engaged in the printing trade in New York City with Asher B. Durand, engraver and Hudson River Valley painter, in the 1820s. With Durand, Samuel Morse and others, Wright was one of the founders of the National Academy of Design in 1825. He is often referred to as “The First American Medalist.” By 1850 he was a contract engraver to the U.S. Mint. He designed the first $50 gold coin and executed a bronze medal of Henry Clay upon the statesman’s death in 1852.

Thanks to Vose Gallery of Boston and the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Saratoga, New York, for background information.