George Stubbs is the preeminent painter of racehorses of all time and one of the revered Old Masters. Auction house Christie’s in London just auctioned the 1765 Stubbs painting titled “Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath” for £22.4 million, or approximately $35.8 million. Christie’s did not reveal the name of the buyer, who wished to remain anonymous.

The Stubbs’ work shows the horse Gimcrack with a trainer, a stable lad, and a jockey. A Christie’s representative said that the painting is “possibly the greatest horse racing picture that exists.” That is certainly true if price is the standard for evaluation.

Stubbs’ “Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath” is now the third highest-priced Old Master ever sold at auction. The seller purchased it in 1951 for £12,600. Previously, the top auction price for a Stubbs’ painting was £10.1 million in 2010 for “Broodmares and Foals.”

While the recession has taken its toll on pari-mutuel wagering and purses, the horse-racing art market for the finest work has held up or even improved.

Copyright © 2011 Horse Racing Business

To see the Stubbs’ painting and read more about its sale click here.