Sunday, December 22, 2013

Behind-the-scenes video about the art of bird dioramas

The American Museum of Natural History has just created some new videos about the making of the dioramas in the bird hall. In this one, exhibition artist Stephen Quinn spotlights bird painters Louis Agassiz Fuertes and Francis Lee Jaques, as well as taxidermist David Schwendeman, who was able to present the birds in lifelike flying positions.

If you like this one, check out the other video: "Birding at the Museum: Frank Chapman and the Dioramas" And on a related note, Michael Anderson has published Chapter 11 of his online bio of diorama artist James Perry Wilson.

Stephen Quinn is also the author of Windows on Nature: The Great Habitat Dioramas of the American Museum of Natural History


Steve said...

Thanks for posting this, Jim. It was great to see F. Lee Jaques given some attention. Like many people, I first encountered his work through his crisp, confident ink illustrations in the books of Sigurd Olson. Jaques and his wife Florence collaborated on several books that feature more of his distinctive work in black and white. A particular favorite is the combined volume, Canoe Country and Snowshoe Country, both set in Jaques' beloved Boundary Waters area of northern Minnesota.

Below are links to samples of his black/white work and Canoe Country/Snowshoe Country:

Kate said...

Louis Agassiz Fuertes has been a hero of mine for many years. I didn't know he was involved in the museum dioramas, 'though. Thanks for another informative post James.

PS the number-robot word verification you have is much easier to decipher than letters. Ta!

dragonladych said...

Very cool links! Thanks!
I've worked in a Natural History Museum all my working life, twenty years now and since we're about to move this is inspiring. Too bad I don't get to say much in these things but I'd love to create new dioramas.

Ken Laager said...

Bravo Jim! How wonderful to see these remarkable masters of an under appreciated art form receive long overdue recognition.
Legions of NYC school children (of a certain age) like myself, have been awestruck by their magic on field trips to the American Museum of Natural History and other institutions (do kids still make shoebox-and-armyman dioramas of their own for homework?).
Artists like Jaques, Fuertes and Schwendeman influenced not only generations of wildlife painters, but helped inspire the global movement to protect wild animals and wild places.