28 January 2008
I stopped by the Joel Oppenheimer gallery in the Wrigley building on a visit to Chicago over Christmas. This gallery is a must see for anyone interested historical natural history art, especially the work of John James Audubon. There are many Havell edition Audubon originals on the walls in addition to the work of many other esteemed bird artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. When I visit every year it is my custom to stroll the galleries, giving the Audubon Havell's there fair attention, after all it is a real rarity to see so many, and so many of the most sought after prints on dispaly in a single gallery. After this circuit I am inclined to beeline for the small gallery at the center of the tiny library corridor. Here in a secluded space, hidden from the eye of most visitors is the collection I am most intrigued by, a selection of originals by the likes of Jaques, Sutton and often a Fuertes or two. This year, the apple of my eye was a new Fuertes original on the east wall, a classic portrait of a Red-headed Woodpecker. The gallery staff was kind enough to send me a photo of the piece (which like all of the originals here are for sale, the Fuertes for a cool $17,000). The next time you are in Chicago don't miss a chance to visit this gallery and check for some new gems on the library walls.
A final update of the Kingfisher and Grey Heron Fuertes auction on eBay. The final selling price of $6000 surprises me, mostly because of the lack of any provenance information in the auction posting. I imagine the buyer, and competing bidders were aware of some background information about the piece which led them to bid so high with confidence. I will continue to poke around in the Fuertes resources here at Cornell to try and unearth some more details about this, and some of the other paintings of European birds I have seen attributed to Fuertes .
25 January 2008
One of the first things which excited me about Julie Zickefoose's blog were her occasional posts chronicling a work in progress. Now and again she takes her readers all the way through her daily painting activities and details a piece from start to finish. Birding magazine picked up on this a few issues back when Julie was asked to provide a cover painting. On the ABA website I found this very nicely laid out expose entitled 'About the cover painting'. Keep an eye out on the Birding Magazine archives in the future for further incarnations of this great column.
UPDATE: With 2 days to go in the auction, there are four bids bringing the current price up to $409. I have been searching in vain over the past few days for a reproduction of another painting by Fuertes sold at a very reputable gallery a few years ago. It was a painting of Great Tit's, also from England and very similar in style to this Kingfisher. I had hoped to compare the style and signature but I have unfortunately not been able to locate it.
Ahah...I have found it, unfortunately a very poor resolution version. Have a look.
22 January 2008
A scan through the eBay offerings this morning yielded a listing for an advertised Fuertes original. I am not at all convinced that this painting is the real thing. As with a few others from the past there are many elements that just aren't quite right. The overall style, brush work and even subject matter are aberrent and the signature appears to be a crude facsimilie of the cursive signature line used for the bulk of his painting career. The painting depicts two European species, the Common Kingfisher and the Grey Heron. Take a look at these images and the auction on eBay and please feel free to register your own opinions in the comments section.
12 January 2008
I am working on material for a show in a few months at the Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca. Here is an announcement from the Lab of O calender of upcoming events. I thought this might be a good time to get back to this blog which hasn't had any life for the last several months. Keep posted about new work from my drawing board and try to make the show in Ithaca in July if you can. Take a look at the new Cornell Lab of Ornithology Education page with a highlight on the Auditorium Gallery to see the whole public announcement for my show.