Events | October 18, 2011

Sporting Art Museum Opens

MIDDLEBURG, VA - Over 400 people gathered to celebrate the opening of the National Sporting Library and Museum’s new Sporting Art Museum on Saturday, October 8th. The Gala was held on the grounds of the NSLM campus in Middleburg, Virginia, the heart of Hunt Country. Beauty, glamour and brilliance were found everywhere - from the dynamic drama of the gala tent filled with radiant guests to the quiet power of art gracing the walls of the elegant museum building.

Guests enjoyed a preview of the inaugural exhibit Afield in America: 400 Years of Animal and Sporting Art,a which features over 150 paintings and sculptures on loan from museums and private collectors across the country. Curator and board member F. Turner Reuter, Jr. met with guests and spoke about several of the fabulous pieces that grace the rooms of the renovated and expanded 1804 mansion. The works of Bierstadt, Audubon, Remington, Homer and Troye join that of lesser-known artists to illustrate how American animal and sporting artists have developed a unique national style, an idea explored in greater depth in a handsome illustrated catalog with scholarly essays. Welcomed by volunteers in equestrian and related field sports garb, guests were thrilled by the magnitude of what the National Sporting Library and Museum has accomplished.

Moving down a path past the boxwood gardens to a three-story high tent on the crest of the grounds, guests entered a stunning environment created by Virginia Fout of VProductions, Los Angeles. A native of Middleburg, Fout is a prominent event planner well-known for producing Elton Johns’ Oscar parties. Glorious bouquets were composed of two thousand roses, gifts from Ambassador Ivonne Baki, Ecuador, and Ambassador Luis Moreno, Columbia, facilitated by NSLM board member Hector Alcalde. Gigantic reproductions of illustrations from rare books in the Library’s collections hung from the ceiling to the ground in the reception area and draped over the dance floor. Large screens showed time lapse video of Museum construction as well as key images from the NSLM collections and history.

Jacqueline B. Mars, vice chairman of the board, and Anjela Guarriello served as the gala co-chairs. Their attention to detail was evident from the selection of the black, white and silver décor enhanced with glorious bouquets and exquisite images, to the orchestration of a multi-course meal with brilliantly paired wines. Dinner was followed with the auction of an African Temptations Safari conducted by C. Hugh Hildesley of Sotheby’s. Gala guests danced to the music of the Gene Donati Orchestra.

The NSLM also celebrated the Museum opening with a three day Coach Event which included a Presentation of the Coaches at the Upperville Colt and Horse Show grounds where over 20 historic coaches were on view for a large appreciative crowd. The coaches then headed for luncheon on the grounds of beautiful Llangollen.

Executive Director Rick Stoutamyer has overseen the construction of the new Museum which was designed by Virginia architect Hardee Johnston. Stoutamyer is enthusiastic about the Museum and sees it as a logical extension of the National Sporting Library which was founded in 1954 by George L. Ohrstrom, Sr. and Alexander Mackay-Smith. The mission of the National Sporting Library and Museum is to preserve, share and promote the literature, art and culture of equestrian and field sports.

Manuel H. Johnson, chairman of the board, welcomed guests with the observation that, “It is quite an accomplishment to create an environment that preserves historic works of art and reflects the character it seeks to protect.” October 8, 2011, over 400 people from around the country and Canada gathered to celebrate the unique role that the National Sporting Library and Museum has created for itself in beautiful, historic Middleburg, Virginia.

The National Sporting Library and Museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing the literature, art, and culture of horse and field sports. Founded in 1954, the institution has over 17,000-books dating from the 16th-21st centuries. The John H. Daniels Fellowship program supports the research of visiting scholars. The newly renovated and expanded historic building on the camps, which opened in October 2011, houses exhibits of American and European fine sporting art. Information is shared through exhibitions, lectures, seminars, publications, and special events. The NSLM is open to researchers and the general public. Admission is free. Museum Hours: Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Library Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit
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