Art collector and curator Jeanne Chisholm is passionate about polo art. Her massive collection includes sculptures, paintings, drawings, bar accessories and more . She’s so enthused about giving you the scoop on each piece, it’s almost impossible to get her to stand still for a photo herself.
Case in point: Jeanne does not just show me this black and white image, “Polo Spill at Meadow Brook” taken on, June 4th. 1939. She tells me the crowds paid $15 per seat to see the first of three matches between the best players of Great Britain and the U.S. They got their money’s worth! The Americans forgot team work, rode hell-bent for trouble. Up and down the field they barged and banged, hit rocketing shots , rode the English off the ball , committed 12 fouls. Then U.S. No. 1 smacked Aidan Roark out of the saddle, rolling him onto the turf. Mike Phipps comes to his aid, but slides off his white horse and lands on the rump of Roark’s pony. In ten minutes, Roark was back in the game. Everyone was ok.
“I love anything to do with 18th, 19th and 20th Century sporting art,” Jeanne tells me, while Prince Albert the rescue Labradoodle secures the perimeter (to quote Kiefer during his 24 days).
Town and Country Magazine once noted that she had the largest collection of polo art in the world, and during her 40 years of collecting, she has coordinated massive art undertakings, like the Cartier polo retrospective. Even Ralph Lauren recently turned to Jeanne when he needed create the right atmosphere at his clubby Polo Bar in New York.
So when in Wellington, a stop in to her private gallery is a must. Call ahead for an appointment, and prepare your eyes to be inundated. Polo portraits cover the walls at Jeanne’s townhouse gallery, but it’s just the beginning.
Art rests on every available surface.And in every available container. In this case, the art takes the form of rare and scarce books, notably the 1935 “Hits and Misses” by Paul Brown, which was a limited edition to begin with. Mongolian polo, anyone? These watercolors on linen look like they could be centuries old, but they are painted by the very-much-alive Tsolmon Damba.Rollin McGrail’s whimsical illustrations cover many topics, but the ones with a polo focus are, of course, my favorite. This one was commissioned by Grand Champions Polo Club. And fyi, those pewter ponies at top right double as salt and pepper shakers.Rollin popped in to Chisholm Gallery to personally show me her witty, charming work. Although she’s inspired by New Yorker cartoons, she’ll also do straight-up branding. Despite the fact that section on her website is titled “Delusions of Brandeur.” High-profile clients include Nic Roldan, with whom I recently savored getting up close and personal.Rich Roenisch, on the other hand, did not materialize to give me a personal intro to his bronze, on the left, “Heat of the Game.” Since he lives in Longview, Alberta, and since I often play polo with his nephew Daniel, I guess I can forgive him. The bronze on the right is “When Push Comes to Shove,” by Bunny Connell, a Wyoming sculptor.If you’re not in the market for a bronze right now, Christmas is still coming. Jeanne has these tempting polo trinkets for under the tree. The toast rack can be used as a letter holder. The cocktail stirrers, however, need no alternate use.Or, if Santa Baby is feeling more extravagant, this painting by Royal Family favorite Wilf Plowman is available.Meanwhile, in the boudoir, the walls are still covered with art. But, mysteriously, this room breaks from equine art, turning to another sporting focus: dwarf tossing. But that’s another story.
Have a wonderful winter season, Jeanne and Prince Albert! Thanks for the VIP private tour of Chisholm Gallery!