Churchill Downs: Peter Williams

Past Exhibition

Starts May 30, 2020 10:17 AM EDT
Ends June 27, 2020 10:18 AM EDT
Online Gallery



This special online exhibition highlights the works of revered equestrian painter Peter Williams. Churchill Downs will host races through June and it is a time of great excitement on the Derby Race circuit. We celebrate the derby and remember Peter Williams and his presence painting among the paddocks of iconic race tracks. 

Peter Williams (1934 - 2018)  
By his own admission aspiring artists in New Zealand in the early 1950s, with a few notable exceptions, had two options - teach or starve. Painting became a pastime for Peter Williams while he worked as a shepherd and continued to be an important part of his life when he had a small property of his own farming sheep and cattle. He was encouraged in his art, which, because of his talent, led to emerging recognition, winning awards, and landing exhibits in New Zealand and Australia. 
Due to this success, Qantas Airlines invited him to be a guest on their inaugural 747 flight to the United States in 1971. That opportunity led to a yearlong adventure traveling around the United States, in a small motor home, with his wife and three young children painting and exhibiting his works.
A chance meeting with Richard Stone Reeves, who specialized in equine art, resulted in a commission to paint racing scenes. Peter spent more time in the United States visiting racetracks and equine sporting venues while building a vast international network of friends and collectors. His collaboration with Reeves was mutually successful and lasted for five years.
Peter realized that seeing someone painting from life was a novelty and a fun distraction for many attending racing and sporting events. A unique combination of talent, his outgoing nature and self-deprecating sense of humor were irresistible. He was in demand stateside and Kentucky became a second home for him, largely because of the welcoming atmosphere at Keeneland and Churchill Downs.
Despite his abiding fondness for capturing the beauty, personalities and excitement of racing and equine sport, he went on to paint a wide variety of subjects.  Vintage automobiles, flower gardens, architecture, marine subjects, landscapes, figure studies and special events, always from life and almost always executed in oil, took shape quickly on his canvas.

Peter Williams, a beloved and familiar figure in the paddocks of the most famous racetracks in the world, died at the age of 84 at his home in Goshen, Kentucky on August 13, 2018.


Eisele Gallery of Fine Art 
(513) 791-7717

5729 Dragon Way, Cincinnati, OH  45227  



Open By Appointment


David C. Smith 


(513) 791-7717 ext. 109