28 January 2008

Fuertes - Red-headed Woodpecker

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.