Richard Stone Reeves, perhaps the greatest modern-day horse painter, died Oct. 7 at Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport, N.Y. He was 85.
Over the years, Reeves had been commissioned by top owners and breeders to paint portraits of their horses and his work was published in many books. The Blood-Horse
published several of his works, including "Royal Blood, Fifty Years of Classic Thoroughbreds" and most recently, "Belmont Park: A Century of Champions."
Born in New York City, Reeves grew up in Garden City, close to Belmont Park, where he gained his love of horses as a young boy. His father, Matthew Sully Reeves, was a descendant of American portrait painter Thomas Sully, and his mother, Edna Simonson, owned Standardbreds.
A graduate of Syracuse with a degree in Fine Arts, Reeves served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Following the war, he began painting, his portrait of 1947 Horse of the Year Armed appearing in Life
magazine in April 1948. Commissions immediately followed and Reeves painted more international champions than any artist in history.
While most of his paintings are in the hands of private collectors, more than a dozen are hanging in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. The largest known collection of Reeves paintings is owned by the Aga Khan.
Reeves is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Martha; a son, Richard Stone Reeves Jr.; a daughter, Nina Stone Reeves; and a brother. Dr. Robert Reeves.