Last updated on August 10th, 2021 at 10:09 amposters of the past
OFTEN HAILED as one of the most elite, can’t-miss horse shows of the year, the Hampton Classic has drawn equine enthusiasts from all over the globe for decades. The Classic, prestigiously awarded the status of Heritage Competition by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) in 2009, holds a rich historical background. Dating back to the early 20th century, the event evolved from the original Southampton Horse Show, which was held on and off for many years until Mrs. Edwin M. Schwenk Jr. officially revitalized the show in 1971. The event was later dubbed the Hampton Classic in 1977. The immaculate, 65-acre show grounds situated in scenic Bridgehampton, New York, have attracted top equestrian talent year after year. Consistently, every class from Lead Line all the way through FEI showjumping classes has become increasingly competitive, and attracts crowds consisting of everyone from local spectators to A-list celebrities.
Since its official changeover to the Hampton Classic in 1977, the show has traditionally featured posters with original artwork for promotional purposes. Over the years, the posters have become an integral aspect of Hampton Classic history and have grown wildly popular as mementos for collectors. Every year, artists are invited to submit their work to be considered as the next face of the Classic. Previous Hampton Classic director Jean Lindgren gives us insight into how these posters became so prevalent. “We were approached by Evelyn Farland of Poster Originals of East Hampton and Madison Avenue. She said she would like to do a poster for the show. She would produce it, we would get a certain number of them, and she would choose the artist.” The first poster was designed in 1978 by Paul Davis and won several design awards. To continue that success, the board of the Hampton Classic approached artist Henry Koehler for a design in 1979, which ended up selling out. After that, other artists were brought in, and eventually, the annual poster selection became a competition of its own.
In recent years, the contest to submit artwork has grown in popularity, with hundreds of submissions pouring in. Many up-and-coming artists are frequently discovered through the submission process. As an event that continually prides itself on listening to all its constituents—from riders and spectators to sponsors and advertisers—the annual poster plays a central role. To be selected as the featured artist has become a prestigious honor, adding another element of historical significance to one of the most beloved horse shows in the United States.
The Hampton Classic offers an online store where show aficionados can purchase past posters, which feature paintings as well as a few high-quality photographs. A select number of posters are offered signed by the original artist.