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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Offering of the Day: A Realistically Rendered Iguana in Watercolor by the Great British Painter Margaret Mee

 Margaret Mee (1909-1988)
Iguana iguana
Gouache over pencil on paper
Image size: 9 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches
Framed: 21 1/4 x 24 1/2 inches
Signed “Margaret Mee”
Inscribed with location “Amazonas” and date “May 1982”
$16,000

Provenance: Margaret Mee

Reproduced:  (M. Mee In Search of Flowers of the Amazon Forests (Woodbridge: 1988), p. 262; M. Mee Margaret Mee’s Amazon (Woodbridge and Kew: 2004), . 262

A painting of an iguana observed during Mee's twelfth expedition to the Arquipelago das Anvilhanas in the Rio Negro, in April and May 1982. Travelling through the igapo (forest flooded by rising water) by canoe, "there was a loud splash from a green iguana which, dropping from a branch, began swimming across the open water. At first it seemed to be a snake by the extraordinary length and serpentine movements of its tail. Our canoe was moored to a small leafless tree in the middle of the water, which to our surprise, the iguana climbed with incredible agility. And thus I was able to observe him at close quarters. Rapidly I sketched this beaitufl reptile and made notes before he decided to continue on his course, swimming to shore and disappearing into the shades of the igapo. He was an intense green, the body markings and tail rings were dark grey, graduating to white. His ears had a fine membrane like mother-of-pearl. From the crown of his head and all the way down his spine were saw-like projections of a darker green. A ruffle hung elegantly from his lower jaw, and the immensely long tail merged from green to rust brown. The delicate hands and feet were long and bony" (M. Mee In Search of Flowers of the Amazon Forests (Woodbridge: 1988), pp. 257-258.

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