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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Offering of the Day: An Exceptional Original Watercolor by Louis Agassiz Fuertes, One of the Most Noted American Ornithological Artists

Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927)
American Flamingos
14 x 21 inches
Watercolor on paper with no restoration
Signed: "Louis Agassiz Fuertes"
$350,000

Louis Agassiz Fuertes, one of the most widely acclaimed American ornithological artists of his time, painted this watercolor of flamingos probably around 1900, a period of extensive travel on a number of scientific expeditions, and of remarkable productivity.  The dramatic flamingo, with its characteristic vibrant plumage and graceful stance, has appealed to the human imagination for centuries.  In this fully worked, refined watercolor, Fuertes depicted a group of the vivid birds standing calmly in shallow, calm water, which reflects the violet haze of the dusk sky as well as the shadows of the elegant birds.  In the background, a group of trees can be glimpsed, while hills rise towards the distant horizon.  It is a splendid landscape from which the birds emerge with utmost clarity, their forms and actions captured perfectly by this perceptive and gifted artist. 

Born in Ithaca, New York, Fuertes began drawing birds at an early age, and his illustrations qualified him as an associate member of the American Ornithologists' Union by the time he was seventeen.  Fuertes quickly became associated with leading ornithological scientists and artists, and he received professional commissions while still an undergraduate at Cornell.  Fuertes went on to produce a vast body of work for an extremely broad range of projects.  His numerous paintings and drawings convey his careful study of his subjects' form and behavior, and a precision and skill that characterize Fuertes' animated and engaging illustrations.  Perhaps more than any of the other great bird artists, Fuertes's birds are always full of life.  This watercolor is a splendid original work by one of the greatest American ornithological artists.



The following letter was written by William H. Gerdts, Professor Emeritus of Art History at the Graduate School of the City University of New York. He is known by members of the industry as the leading expert on American painting in the United States today. 

                                    

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