Anderson's new chapter concentrates on JPW's work in the North American Mammal Hall of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, considered by connoisseurs of diorama painting as the finest ever accomplished.
Essentially self taught and science-minded, Wilson developed independent theories of color and light which allowed him to paint more naturalistically than most other artists. This 12 x 16 oil study of the Teton range was painted on location.
Of the twenty-nine dioramas in the North American Mammal Hall, Wilson would paint nineteen during the years spanning 1938 to 1954. His personal stamp is visible throughout the hall. These are levelheaded, realistic backgrounds, controlled by Wilson to have the greatest effect. There are no flights of fancy, there isn’t a thing painted that wasn’t in his references or empirically available to the eyes of someone at the site. While the realism Wilson brought to the dioramas is on another plane, his colors glow with such luminosity that many visitors have asked whether they are backlit. Wilson imparted a level of three-dimensionality to his backgrounds that had never before been as perfectly realized as this. The remarkable thing is that Wilson also grasped the spirit of a place that seemed to come naturally from the rightness of the finished work.James Perry Wilson, Chapter 8, the North American Mammal Hall
Book: Windows on Nature: The Great Habitat Dioramas of the American Museum of Natural History
Previously on GJ:
James Perry Wilson's Plein Air Oils
Wilson's Dioramas, Part 1
Wilson's Dioramas, Part 2
Wilson's Sky Blending Method