Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Seattle Art Museum (SAM)



Deborah Butterfield

American, born 1949

Butterfield made the horse her primary subject in the mid 1970s. She assembles improbable fragments into lifesized figures. Her materials have ranged from sticks, mud, and wire to steel elements salvaged from construction sites. Unlike traditional equestrian sculptors, who seek perfect form and surface for their statues and trophies, Butterfield respects the nature and patina of her ordinary materials and allows the viewer to imagine her process of choosing, placing, and assembling the parts. She has a fine eye for the outlines and masses of her horses. Though lovingly observed, "Pascal" avoids sentimentality. The object's vivid, living qualities are countered by its skeletal openness and timeworn surfaces; the body looms grandly, but stands on spindly legs.
Steel and iron
84 1/2 x 109 x 45 in. (214.63 x 276.86 x 114.3 cm)
Margaret E. Fuller Purchase Fund; Jon and Mary Shirley; Northwest Purchase Fund; Betty and Dick Hedreen; Ann H. Hauberg; Gull Industries, Inc.; Faye and Herman Sarkowsky; Greg Kucera and Larry Yocom; the Contemporary Acquisition Fund; Stuart M. Sloan; Judy Dayton; and Laila and Thurston Twigg-Smith
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Five Installations on the Fourth Floor: Horses" (June 26, 1997)

San Diego, California, San Diego Museum of Art, "Deborah Butterfield", 7/20-9/15/96 (07/20/1996 - 09/15/1996)

Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.