American 20th-21st Century Wildlife Art
American Domestic Animal Art
This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "American 20th-21st Century Wildlife Art and American Domestic Animal Art." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to these articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the Resource Library publication date.
Following are links to valuable online resources found outside our website. Links may be to museums' articles about exhibits, plus much more topical information based on our online searches.
Following online resources is information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles.
Also see "Birds in American Art"
Articles and essays from Resource Library in chronological order:
The Art of Robert Bateman (3/17/16) Though ostensibly known as a wildlife painter, and recognized by peers world-wide as the most influential one of all time, Robert Bateman is an artist whose oeuvre encompasses other subjects ranging from architecture, the human figure, land- and waterscapes, modes of transportation, still lives, and portraiture; and other media including original prints, jewelry, and sculpture. Consequently, The Art of Robert Bateman has been conceptualized and designed to exemplify the breadth and depth and versatility of Robert Bateman and his artistic output.
The Uncommon Eye - Impressions of a Montana Outdoorsman (11/7/13) Hockaday Museum of Art's exhibit is a compendium of watercolors by Paul Tunkis capturing the momentary presence of wildlife and the Montana landscape.
Wild at Heart: Selections from the National Museum of Wildlife Art Travels to the Booth Western Art Museum This Spring; artcle by Adam Duncan Harris (5/4/09) Quoted from the article: "Wild at Heart displays the rich history of one of North America's proudest art traditions, featuring highlights from the permanent collection of the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Instead of arranging the works chronologically, this exhibit groups the artwork into different regions, East, West, North, and South, corresponding to areas of the continent that have appealed to artists over the last century and a half. The paintings and sculptures on display feature wildlife created by some of the finest historic and contemporary American artists, painters such as Albert Bierstadt, William H. Dunton, and Bob Kuhn as well as sculptors Edward Kemeys, Albert Laessle, and Ken Bunn. Wild at Heart also features work by artists from France, Sweden, and Germany, providing a testament to the attractive nature of our wilderness areas and wildlife populations to artists from foreign countries."
Art, Nature, and Philosophy: the Aesthetic, Ethic, and Legacy of Kent Ullberg, essay by David J. Wagner (4/24/09) Quoted from the essay: "There are many worlds of art. But no matter in which Kent Ullberg's work is judged, it succeeds because of the breadth, depth, and sophistication of his knowledge and talent. In the world of New York's National Academy of Design or National Sculpture Society, Ullberg's art stands out because he deeply understands nature and his treatment of it goes beyond urbane aesthetics. In the world of the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the Society of Animal Artists, or The Wildlife Experience, Ullberg's work rises above the rest because he applies his broad knowledge of art history to create his sculptures. This duality is unusual. Relatively few other artists embody much less embrace it. It is a result of Ullberg's aspiration to be true to art and to nature."
Excerpted from Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding: "Affecting Nature", essay by Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen and "Introduction", essay by David J. Wagner (4//20/09) Quoted from Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen's essay: "Unfortunately, wildlife art is too popular for its own good at the moment, and most of us are too busy fumbling for that public pulse to engage in any sort of intentional discourse. The current voice too often reiterates the same evocations: the bison of Yellowstone, the elephants of Kruger, the very slices of nature that will be the last fell the wheels of the juggernaut. In a genre so thematically rich, such perseveration seems a shame. In its homogeneity, wildlife art is a poor representation of wildlife. But of course it's not the natural world that it reflects, but its own practitioners -- us, our myths and prejudices."
Paws and Reflect: Art of Canines (8/20/08) The works of thirty artists were chosen by the R.W. Norton Art Gallery for their diverse subject matter, creative combinations of composition and design, extraordinary technique and resulting style. Each artist was represented by two or three works to demonstrate his/her versatility and range of artistic treatment.
Aiden Lassell Ripley (1896-1969): A Retrospective, article by Elizabeth Ives Hunter (7/30/08) Quoted from the article: "Aiden Lassell Ripley is best known for his sporting work paintings of hunters and game, fly-fishing on pristine rivers, and plantation life in the Deep South during the 1930s and '40s. His reputation is well justified and places him in the company of such luminaries as Frank W. Benson (1862 - 1951) and Ogden Pleissner (1905 - 1983). Like Benson, Ripley's work extends well beyond the fishing-hunting genre although that has been the principal focus of collectors and the press for some time."
Ellen Lanyon: A Wonder Production (6/27/08) Lanyon's work chiefly examines the links between art and nature. She explores the physical, magical, scientific and psychological concepts of transformation and metamorphoses, while commenting on the effects of humans on the environment. Though her art tackles weighty issues, Lanyon infuses her work with fantastical elements that creates an approachable style.
Olive Vandruff: 100 at 100 (4/30/08) Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum exhibits works from Vandruff's personal collection in several media including pastel, watercolor, casein, and oil. Vandruff became a renowned painter of animals and birds and often was commissioned to paint horse portraits.
Tigers of Wrath: Watercolors by Walton Ford (5/25/07) This exhibition presents approximately fifty of the artist's large-scale works on paper, most completed after 2000. These images of birds and animals are meticulously executed in a style resembling John James Audubon's Birds of America, but one that also contains veins of political and social discourse. By using the non-human world as a mirror for our own, Ford employs his skill as an artist and observer of people to communicate his subjective commentary on contemporary society.
Flora, Fauna, and Fantasy: The Art of Dorothy Lathrop (2/3/06) For over 40 years, Dorothy Lathrop expressed her love of fantasy and nature in pen and ink, watercolor, and lithographic pencil. Her illustrations, created mainly for children, demonstrate sophisticated design and unique craftsmanship that influenced other important illustrators of her generation
Goodwin's Life: An Illustrated Adventure; essay by Erin Anderson (1/12/06) Quoted from the essay: " Goodwin embraced nature and skillfully captured the majesty of the outdoors, proving to be a representative of his own personal ideals, while encouraging his contemporaries to embrace the same. He insisted upon the importance of connecting with nature, being in front of his subjects to study them first-hand in their own habitats."
Insects Illuminated: Photographs, Prints and Drawings by Evan Summer (9/26/05) At first, Summer used high-resolution digital photographs as reference for drawings and prints. Photography enabled him to see details that were just too small to see without magnification. Later he began thinking of these photos as finished artworks.
Animals in the Gallery, with article by Virginia O'Hara (3/23/05) The Brandywine River Museum presents an exhibition of paintings, drawings and sculpture by American artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Works exhibited portray animals as symbols of peace, majestic creatures of nature, subjects of scientific study, barnyard subjects, human companions, and entertaining figures in cartoons and illustrations.
Animalia: Small Paintings and Drawings by Patricia Traub (7/23/04) Traub explores the tenuous relationship between humans and animals, who can be loving companions or predator and prey. She paints nude or partly clothed humans in intimate proximity with animals or parts of animal bodies, prompting reflection on issues of wildlife conservation, the food chain, and the close bond between pets and their owners.
Animals in Bronze: The Michael and Mary Erlanger Collection of Animalier Bronzes from the Georgia Museum of Art and Audubon's Animals: Works from the John James Audubon Museum (4/30/04) Animals in Bronze shows equine energy and beauty in 17 bronze horses, from an Arabian mare by Pierre-Jules Mêne to Will Rogers on his horse by Charles Russell. And there is more: whippets, panthers, and bulls, in sculptures that are romantic, expressive, and humorous. Audubon's Animals exhibits several little-known animal prints and paintings. People are familiar with Audubon's birds, but not always aware that he also painted a wide range of fauna.
Wildling Art Museum: Building A Collection (12/20/03) The museum featured for the first time its growing permanent collection of American wilderness art.
The Hole Range: Wildlife and Landscape of the Tetons and Wind Rivers (7/16/03) This exhibit looks at the wildlife and landscape of the Tetons and the Wind Rivers through artists' eyes. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt, and Carl Rungius were drawn to this region, inspired by the breathtaking mountains and abundant animal life. Throughout the twentieth century, artists like Conrad Schwiering, John Clymer, Ken Carlson, Bob Kuhn, and Tucker Smith continued to come and paint a region that still seemed wild in an era of increasing industrialization.
Carl Rungius: Artist, Sportsman (5/31/03) By situating animals in their natural environment-a practice new to painting in early twentieth-century North America, Rungius combined wildlife and landscape painting for a unique statement on the Western environment and its inhabitants. His work represents an Eden-like world where the human imprint on the landscape is invisible, and his legacy of accomplished yet romantic imagery has helped shape the idea and image of the North American wilderness.
Francis Lee Jaques: Master Artist of the Wild (2/4/03) The exhibit focuses on the artist's body of work apart from his dioramas, specifically early drawings, field sketches, scratchboards done for book illustrations, watercolors, and a selection of his finest oil paintings. Many of the works on view came about as a result of his museum research and document his travels throughout North America, including Alaska and regions of the North Pole, the west coast of South America, Panama, Peru, Polynesia, and Europe.
Visions of Nature: The World of Walter Anderson (1/23/02) Featuring over 70 Walter Anderson works highlighting the natural flora and fauna of Mississippi, the exhibition follows an Anderson journey from the Mainland, across the Mississippi Sound to Horn Island and also includes photographs of Horn Island by Ansel Adams Award Winning Conservation Photographer Donald Bradburn.
William Morris: Myth, Object, and the Animal (2/8/01) Morris uses the fragile medium of glass to recreate life-size black ravens and exquisite deer heads that reflect themes of myth, archaeology and the animal.
Click here for more articles and essays on this topic published in 1998-2000.
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From other websites:
Bear, Tim Hawkinson's site-specific outdoor installation at the Stuart Collection. Includes videos about the installation. Accessed December, 2015.
A Contemporary Bestiary, an exhibit held September 13 - December 21, 2014 at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University. Includes press release and teachers guide. Accessed January, 2015.
Dogs: Faithful and True is a 2017 exhibit at the Eiteljorg Museum which says: "A new special exhibition at the Eiteljorg Museum captures the extraordinary bond between people and dogs through art and interactive experiences that bring to life the many roles dogs have played in the American West: as companions, workers and heroes." Accessed 4/17
Elizabeth Osborne: Animal Paintings and Watercolors is a 2018 exhibit at the Woodmere Art Museum which says: "One of Philadelphia's most respected artists, Elizabeth Osborne (born 1936) is often drawn to the beauty and special personalities of household pets: dogs, cats, and other animals. Two recent, large-scale paintings and numerous watercolors anchor this intimate exhibition, exploring a charming, lesser-known side of Osborne's practice." Also see artist's website Accessed 2/18
Exploring America: Western, Wildlife and Contemporary Art from the National Museum of Wildlife Art and the Stonehollow Collection was a 2014-5 exhibit at the Baker Museum which says: "Though a significant portion of work on display depicts the American West, the exhibition also presents depictions of wildlife from locations across North America and includes contemporary art that engages with current issues such as invasive and endangered species. The exhibition is divided into five sections: Eastern Wilds, Exploring the West, Wildlife in American Art, Modern Movements and Contemporary Works on Paper." Accessed 1/17
Fish, Fowl and Fauna was a 1992 exhibit at the Sheldon Museum of Art which says: "Like the previous statewide exhibitions, FISH, FOWL AND FAUNA spans approximately one-hundred fifty years and includes examples of painting, sculpture, and works on paper, made by both academically trained and folk artists." Viewers may download the exhibition brochure. Accessed 1/17
From the Smoky Valley To the Alaskan Tundra: Paintings by Chip Brock of Wassila, Alaska is a 2016-7 exhibit at Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery. The artist says: "Sighting Dall rams while hiking above barren slopes and craggy rocks, watching a giant sway to a challenging rival, watching caribou bulls prance across the red autumn tundra . . .these are memories that inspire my creativity. Wildlife grabs everyone's imagination at one time or another. ... As a representational oil painter whose primary focus is North American wildlife, I work hard to share the animals and my experiences in the wild through my art." Accessed 1/17
Full Circle: Dahlov Ipcar's Circle Paintings, with a Round of Marguerite and William Zorach, an exhibit held September 10 - October 19, 2011 at the University of New Hampshire Art Gallery. Accessed May, 2015.
George LaVanish: Wild Art, an exhibit held June 8, 2010 - January 22, 2011 at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art. Includes exbibit catalog. Accessed April, 2015.
Hallowed Absurdities: Work by Theodore Waddell is a 2015 exhibit at the Fort Collins Museum of Art which says: "Waddell is an accomplished painter, sculptor and printmaker although he is primarily recognized for his uniquely identifiable paintings of the West, rife with wildlife and signature Angus cattle." Also see artist's website. Accessed 3/17
Insects Illuminated: Photographs, Prints, and Drawings by Evan Summer, an exhibit held 9/17/2005 - 1/8/06 at the Reading Public Museum. Accessed April, 2015.
James Prosek: Life & Death - A Visual Taxonomy, an exhibit held September 16, 2007June 8, 2008 at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art Accessed August, 2015.
James Prosek: Un-Natural History was a 2011 exhibit at the Bellarmine Museum of Art which says in its press release: "In Un-Natural History, James Prosek questions the accepted norms by proposing new and unusual ways for considering the world around us," said Jill Deupi, J.D., Ph.D, Bellarmine Museum director and assistant professor of art history at Fairfield University. "Through his renderings of specimens, both real and imagined, the artist invites the viewer to reflect on the ways Western man has chosen to organize the natural world and to question what these systems say about our culture, our priorities and our values. He encourages us, with subtle persistence, to think about what it means to impose a name on an object or, indeed, a living creature, and how such actions create powerful hierarchies in the inter-connected realms of society, politics and economics." Accessed 1/17
Joseph Scheer - Moth Scrolls is a 2019 exhibit at the Burchfield - Penney Art Center which says: "A journey into artwork created by innovative printmaking synthesized with ancient Chinese tradition where images of moths are digitally transferred to precious Xuan paper on 198 x 38 scrolls mounted on silk." Also see biography from BPAC Accessed 1/20
Mark Weber: ANIMALS is a 2017 exhibit at the Erie Art Museum which says: "Mark Weber has worked as a fine artist and illustrator for over thirty years, creating whimsical drawings and paintings without apology." Also see press release Accessed 12/17
Of Whales in Paint - Rockwell Kent's Moby-Dick is a 2016 exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art, which says: "Beginning with Rockwell Kent's iconic black-and-white illustrations for the 1930 publication of Moby-Dick, the exhibition considers how makers in the 20th and 21st centuries have responded to Melville's text and used it to explore the most pressing artistic and social questions of their times." Accessed 11/16
One must know the animals, an exhibit held June 2, 2012 to August 19, 2012 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum's website says: "One must know the animals examines how modern and contemporary artists, in a reflection of personal and social values, have used the animal form" Accessed February, 2015
Tigers of Wrath: Watercolors by Walton Ford, an exhibit held November 3, 2006 - January 28, 2007 at the Brooklyn Museum. From the Brooklyn Museum website. Information includes a podcast and teacher packet. Accessed August, 2015.
Tom Taylor: Wildlife Designs is a 2017 exhibit at the Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center which says: "He became best known for his boldly stylized wildlife images, first developed when he lived in Zambia where he produced the 1981 calendar for the Wildlife Conservation Society of Zambia. Upon Taylor's return to the U.S.A., opportunities became available for him to establish the Tom Taylor Brand with his unique paintings of animals and birds." Accessed 6/17
Touchstones, Totems, Talismans: Animals in Contemporary Art is a 2017 exhibit at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center. Mara Williams, Chief Curator, says: "Featuring the work of Walton Ford, Bharti Kher, Colleen Kiely, Stephen Petegorsky, Shelley Reed, Jane Rosen, Michal Rovner, Rick Shaefer, and Andy Warhol, this exhibit offers a mere glimpse into the complexity of human-animal relationships in contemporary art. The selected works are diverse in intention and execution. Some are humorous; others are unsettling. All invite contemplation of the various ways in which animals inhabit our personal experiences, our cultural history, and our common world." Accessed 12/17
Walton Ford's Novaya Zemlya, an exhibit held June 14 - December 14, 2014 at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Includes video. Accessed May, 2015
Wildlife Art Magazine provides online "information about art and artists depicting the natural world, including wildlife, Western, Southwestern, Indian, landscapes and more." Accessed August, 2015.
Wild Fabrications is a 2017 exhibit at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum which says: "Wild Fabrications comprises more than three dozen vibrant quilts featuring intriguing, whimsical depictions of animals and organized by the Studio Art Quilt Associates in Hebron, Connecticut." Also see press release Accessed 1/18
Year of the Dog is a 2018 exhibit at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College which says: "Featuring six highly renowned American artists working across media and each addressing a different facet of the theme, Year of the Dog asks us to examine the psychology of our sometimes contradictory relationships with animals. Through the power of visual art, it opens an opportunity for dialogue surrounding the ways in which we can all strive to live more compassionately for the benefit of all sentient beings and the world in which they inhabit." Also see 5/9/18 press release Accessed 6/18
The American Museum of Natural History presents Preparing a Museum Group. This 12-minute video, narrated by Ray de Lucia, features archival footage of Wilson working on the Fisher and Porcupine diorama in the Hall of North American Mammals. James Perry Wilson's great artistic skill and feeling are evident in many of the diorama backgrounds in the Hall of North American Mammals, including the majestic view of the Wyoming plains depicted in the Bison and Pronghorn Group. Wilson's views, whether of field, forest, or mountaintop, beautifully convey both the details and character of each scene and fuse imperceptibly with the scene's foreground. Each diorama represents a specific location, carefully selected in the field and faithfully depicted in the foreground exhibits and the background paintings. [Link found to be expired as of 2015 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for use by researchers.]
The WGBH/Boston Forum Network is an audio and video streaming web site dedicated to curating and serving live and on-demand lectures, including a number of videos on Art and Architecture. Partners include a number of museums, colleges, universities and other cultural organizations. See listings of related videos in this catalogue indexed by partner name. New England Aquarium partnered with the WGBH Forum Network for Fish Worship and Art by Ray Troll, fin artist (50 minutes) From his tree-top studio, high above the Tongass Narrows in rainswept Katchikan Alaska, Ray Troll draws and paints fishy images that migrate into museums, books and magazines and onto t-shirts sold round the globe. Basing his quirky, aquatic images on the latest scientific discoveries, Ray brings a street-smart sensibility to the worlds of ichthyology & paleontology. Over the years, Ray has done artwork for various conservation organizations including the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. [April 30, 2007] Accessed May, 2015.
TFAO suggests these books:
American Wildlife Art, by David J.Wagner. Amazon.com describes the book as follows:
424 pages, University of Washington Press, 2008, ISBN-10: 0977802868, ISBN-13: 978-0977802869 (information courtesy of Amazon.com, front cover image courtesy Amazon.com)
Three Centuries of Great American wildlife art: and Why It Is a Good Investment Today, By Griggsville Wild Bird Society. Published by Griggsville Wild Bird Society, 1973. 30 pages. (information courtesy of Google Books)
Value in American Wildlife Art: Proceedings of the 1992 Forum, By William V. Mealy, Peter Friederici, Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Roger Tory Peterson Institute. Published by Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, 1992. 146 pages. (information courtesy of Google Books)
Wildlife Artists at Work, By Patricia Van Gelder. Published by Watson-Guptill, 1982. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Nov 15, 2007. 175 pages. (information courtesy of Google Books)
Wildlife in American Art: Selections from the National Museum of Wildlife Art, by National Museum of Wildlife Art (Author). Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (October 2009). ISBN-10: 0806140151, ISBN-13: 978-0806140155. (information courtesy of Amazon.com)
TFAO welcomes your suggestions for additions to this catalogue. Please send them to:
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