The first project from the extensive collection of prints and negatives of the late equine photographer Tony Leonard has been released in the form of a 40th Anniversary calendar commemorating the 1973 Triple Crown Winner Secretariat.
In 2009, the fate of Leonard's 500,000 negatives was in question when a court made Leonard and his wife wards of the state. In 2010, the couple and their relatives won their effort in court to end the state's control of the collection of images of Thoroughbred racing champions.
Shortly before Leonard died on July 14, 2012. the collection was purchased by businessman Bobby Shiflet and two men in the Thoroughbred industry John Adger and David Sorrell. A company was formed called the Tony Leonard Collection LLC.
Collection officials said they spent much of 2012 archiving Leonard's more than 500,000 negatives. In the process of sorting more than 40 years of negative and prints, among the first works to stand out were photos from the 15 years Leonard spent following the career of Secretariat, said Shiflet.
Some images in the calendar are in print for the first time, he said. The 20- month calendar "is kind of like a book," Shiflet said Monday. "It's got so much information about Secretariat and about Tony, but mainly about Secretariat ... It was a good starting project.''
Shiflet, who worked with Leonard on projects, owns Frames on Main Gallery, an art gallery and custom frame shop in Paris. Adger, of Houston, is a Thoroughbred owner and breeder and was the bloodstock and racing manager for Robert and Janice McNair's Stonerside Stable. Sorrell, of Lexington, was vice president and controller at Stonerside and is finance manager of Darley, which bought Stonerside from the McNairs five years ago.
The mission of the Tony Leonard Collection LLC is to ensure that Tony Leonard's "legacy is preserved intact for posterity, to provide access to his body of work, and to keep the memory of the magnificent creatures he immortalized alive for future generations to enjoy," according to a news release from the Tony Leonard Collection.
The calendar is being sold at Shiflet's store. and other retail locations for $24.95.
The 2012 deal regarding the sale of the photo and negative collection was approved by a Fayette Court overseeing the conservatorship of Leonard's assets. In an addition to the purchase price, the terms of the sale of the collection included that a monthly payment would be made for the care of Leonard's widow, Adelle Bergantino, according to Sorrell.
Throughout his career Leonard perfected the conformation shot, which shows off a horse's strength and lines.
A singer who also photographed Queen Elizabeth and celebrities, Leonard was well-known for his works capturing Secretariat who died in 1989.
Want the calendar?
The calendar is available at Secretariat.com, the official website for Secretariat. Secretariat.com, operated in conjunction with Secretariat's owner Penny Chenery, also features historical information, photography, merchandise and memorabilia.
Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter:@vhspears