Classic Posters Through the Ages

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A rare Hampton Classic poster from 1979 by Henry Koehler.

This week, the 44th Hampton Classic Horse Show comes to town. The annual horse show runs Sunday, August 29 to Sunday, September 5, at the show grounds on Snake Hollow Road in Bridgehampton.

Those who love artwork related to the Hampton Classic will appreciate the fact that Southampton-based Polaris Gallery has a huge collection of Classic posters on hand, including one designed by Joseph Cornell for the very first Hampton Classic in 1977.

“It was a very small print run, very few were printed and very few people were able to purchase it even at the time. It is so rare and desirable,” said the gallery’s Mary Harty who notes that she pulled the poster off a telephone pole in 1977. Polaris also has the 1978 poster by famed artist and Sag Harbor resident Paul Davis.

“It is one of the most iconic Hampton Classic images,” said Harty.

But perhaps the rarest is the Hampton Classic poster from 1979.

“The third year poster by Henry Koehler is by far the rarest. This is the only copy we have ever been able to find. And even more incredible is that it is a signed and numbered piece by Koehler — it’s number seven of 50.

The 1978 Hampton Classic poster by Paul Davis. Courtesy Polaris Gallery.

“It is beautiful,” she added. “He was a renowned artist from Southampton, and this is the first of I believe his four Hampton Classic posters. And of course we have all of the years from then until present as well, by such renowned local artists as Mickey Paraskevas and others.”

The Polaris Gallery is currently operating remotely. Check out all the gallery’s Hamptons Classic posters at hamptonposters.com, or for more information, call 631-903-1707 or email vharty@fordham.edu.

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