top: Silent Pursuit, 1994, Kenneth Bunn
Bronze, 64 x 40 x 96 inches
bottom: Swamp Donkey, 1996, T D KelseyBronze, 62 x 119 x 43 inches
If you love animal art, you owe it to yourself to visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming. These stunning bronzes flank the entrance to the museum's lobby.
Barry and I were happy to make a return trip last weekend. It had been a number of years since our last visit, we were delighted to find many new additions to the museum's exhibits.
The collection spans a fairly wide time period, from the early 1800's to contemporary work. Contemporary art is presented side by side with much older work, which makes for a fascinating study of both art technique and changing attitudes about wildlife over time.
One of the first sculptures to catch my eye in the galleries was a small bronze by Antoine-Louis Barye (Virginia Deer Reclining, 1837, sadly not included on the museum's website, and no photography is allowed in the galleries). Barye is considered to be the first true "animalier" or animal sculptor working within the spirit of the Romantic movement of the mid-1800s.
As you wander the galleries you'll find many treasures such as that, or the small bronze of a frog in mid-leap catching a katydid in it's mouth by Albert Laessle. This piece was rather controversial in 1908 because it is so life like that critics accused the sculptor of taking a life casting rather than sculpting is subject from scratch.
The single equine sculpture on display at the museum was The Mares of Diomedes by (John) Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum. This was a smaller bronze version of his monumental scale work at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina.
The museum has a really nice step-by-step display of the lost wax casting method used to create a bronze; this information is also presented beautifully online.
All in all, you could spend several happy days exploring the museum and studying it's exhibits, I look forward to a return trip!
|Waiting for Sockeye, Kent Ullberg, |
National Wildlife Art Museum, Jackson, Wyoming