Deborah Butterfield was born on May 7, 1949, the same day as the 75th Kentucky Derby—an event she cites as influencing her choice of subject matter. She is an American sculptor best known for her depictions of horses made from found objects and natural materials, such as wood and recycled metal. Her work in bronze is cast from found wood and sticks, and Butterfield’s horses are imbued with an array of complex, almost human, emotional states. Butterfield studied under Manuel Neri, a renowned figurative sculptor, at the University of California Davis where she earned her MFA.
Her work has been shown in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Neuberger Museum of Art, the Israeli Museum of Art in Tel Aviv, and the Arken Museum of Modern Art in Ishoj, among others. She has received numerous awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship and a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. The artist lives and works in studios in Hawaii and Montana.