Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sesquicentennial Stories: The Promise of UK #97

 The William T. Young Library is full of treasures.  Among those is the tapestry of William T. Young and his stallion, Storm Cat on Overbrook Farm.  In the fall of 1999, architect Michael McKinnell approached Helena Hernmarck to design and weave a tapestry for the Library. The tapestry was woven on a 12-foot Swedish rug loom over the course of nine months.  Over seven hundred colors were used in the tapestry and its final weight is approximately 200 pounds. The tapestry is monumental and a beautiful narrative of Kentucky pride and history.

Helena Hernmarck is a Swedish-born textile artist whose work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Overbrook Farm was founded by Lexington native, William T. Young, whose initial gift began the capital campaign that raised money for the William T. Young Library which opened in April 1998.
Mr. Young began acquiring his foundation broodmares for Overbrook Farm in the early 1980s.   

The most notable of these was Terlingua, a daughter of champion Secretariat, who was bred to Storm Bird, a son of Northern Dancer -- a mating which produced the legendary Storm Cat.  Through 2001, the year that the tapestry was commissioned, Storm Cat had been North America’s leading sire by earnings for two years (1999 and 2000) and had been leading sire of two year olds five times.  At the time, Storm Cat was by far the highest priced stallion in the world, commanding a stud fee of $500,000.  

On February 27, 2013, Storm Cat enjoyed his 30th birthday but due to complications from old age, was euthanized on April 24, 2013.  He is buried on Overbrook Farm.

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