Thursday, August 23, 2018

Frank Calderon's Animal Academy

What would an ideal animal-painting academy look like?

William Frank Calderon (1865-1943) founded a school of animal painting in London in the 1890s. He and his students worked from live animals.

"The studio bustled with horses, dogs, cats, goats and the occasional donkey. At one time, he had five regular dog models, including a fox terrier, an Irish wolfhound, a foxhound and a Russian wolfhound. Students were also encouraged to visit the Zoological Gardens and sketch the animals in natural poses and study the anatomy of their chosen subject."

 "Calderon also set up a summer school in West Sussex which became a focal point for animal painters who called there both to hone their skills under his guidance and enjoy some time in the country."
"Mr. Calderon warmly encourages the practice of making a number of spirited sketches of a series of chance poses, any one of which can be afterwards worked up if required into a finished picture, the student meanwhile gaining a knowledge of her subject which the most elaborate painting of the model standing in one position for an hour could never give." 
A private trial, 1890 by Frank Calderon
"He also had a cast room consisting of plaster snakes, monkeys, armadillos and sheep, and endless horses and dogs, to special parts, such as heads and paws of lions and tigers – as well as many anatomically set up animal skeletons and casts of partial dissections, made by an expert, of a horse and of a calf with the outside skins removed."

"In 1911 he built a new school in conjunction with his own private house and studio at Kensington. The school was highly influential and many of the great 20th century horse and animal painters studied there. Among his students were Cecil Aldin, Lionel Edwards, Alfred Munnings, Lady Helena Gleichen, Frederick Whiting and George Studdy, besides a good many, who, with already-established reputations came to him from time to time for the special purpose of studying animals. Calderon had a thorough understanding of anatomy and published 'Animal Painting and Anatomy' in 1936, [which] was reprinted in 1975."
(Foregoing quotes are taken from various resources listed below:)



scottT said...

Looks like a fun way to spend a day. That painting of the two horses pulling the wagon with the back lighting looks close to being one of your own.

Karen Thumm said...

Frank Calderon's book, "Animal Painting and Anatomy" is my favorite animal anatomy book. In fact, I have two copies. My one complaint about the book is that it's organized by parts of the body rather than all the parts of each animal. So, I took apart my old copy of the book and reorganized the drawings by species. The new book is left intact so that the text is kept together as published.

The drawings are excellent, something that can't be said for many horse or animal anatomy books. I highly recommend this book which is still available from Dover Publishing.

Unknown said...

At the New York Academy of Art we have the chance to take Wade Schuman's "Man and Beast" elective. Students get to work from a variety of visiting animals including reptiles, sheep, wallabies, ducks and chickens. My favorite was a nice lady opossum, names Priya and Walter, the African Crow.

When you walk in the door Wednesday mornings during the Spring semester you always know if it's goat day!

william said...

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