Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Art Review - "White Flamingoes" & "The Sky" by Abbott Handerson Thayer - National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Last week, I posted about Abbott Handerson Thayer's famous argument with Teddy Roosevelt over Thayer's theories regarding camouflage in the animal world. Below are two of the images the artist used to support his concepts in his book, "Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom."

We were able to view both of these paintings last summer at the National Portrait Gallery. Initially, these paintings seemed strange in the context of Thayer's other works, but now knowing the story, I find them fascinating.

Thayer shows how all animals use their coloration to mimic their surroundings, and even bright pink flamingos vanish against a similar colored sky at sunset or sunrise - a crucial time to avoid predators. 

"White Flamingoes, study for book Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom"
• Abbott Handerson Thayer • ca. 1905-1909 • Oil on Wood • 10 1/8" x 9 3/8"

"The Sky Simulated by White Flamingoes study for book, Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom”
• Abbott Handerson Thayer • ca. 1905-1909 • Oil on Wood • 10 1/8" x 12"

Please forgive the cropping on and appearance of these paintings in this photo - they were in visual storage behind glass, so photographing them was tricky.

Painting photos by Saunders Fine Arts.

© Patrick and Kimberly Saunders, Patrick Saunders Fine Arts, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors/owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patrick Saunders for painted works, or to Kimberly Saunders for photographs and/or videos, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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