David J. Wagner, Ph.D.
Author, American Wildlife Art

American Wildlife Art Exhibition 2013 Premiere, Allentown Art Museum
American Wildlife Art Exhibition Installation Photos

American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner

Bookshelves abound with accounts of wildlife artists and their artistry, but no book is truly comparable to American Wildlife Art. In American Wildlife Art, scholar and curator David J. Wagner tells the story of this popular genre's history, shaped by four centuries of cultural events and aesthetic and ideological trends, from its beginnings in colonial times to the monumental works of the present day. In his insightful accounts of the artists, events, and trends at the heart of this uniquely American art form, Wagner explains how the aesthetic idioms and imagery of American wildlife art have evolved, how its ecological ideologies have changed with changing circumstances and ideas about animals and their habitats, and how artists and entrepreneurs developed and influenced the market for wildlife art.

American Wildlife Art by David J. WagnerWagner's history begins with the works of John White and Mark Catesby, artists who documented the flora and fauna of the New World and presented Europeans with a view of both the economic potential and the natural wonders of the then sparsely settled continent. After the American Revolution, as the new nation grew, artists such as Alexander Wilson and especially John James Audubon caused the course of American wildlife art history to turn and advance, setting the stage for Arthur Tait's collaboration with Currier & Ives, which brought wildlife art to the masses, and the work of Edward Kemeys, whose impressionistic sculpture captured the essence of disappearing wildlife like the wolf and buffalo at the same time that prominent Americans like John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt promoted wilderness preservation and the ethics of sportsmanship. As Wagner's narrative moves to the twentieth century and beyond, it embraces in revealing detail the lives of artists Louis Agassiz Fuertes and Carl Rungius, painters who were among the most influential wildlife artists of their time. Wagner's account concludes with portraits of recent and contemporary wildlife artists such as Robert Bateman, Bob Kuhn, Roger Tory Peterson, Stanley Meltzoff, and Kent Ullberg-artists whose work at once departs from and embodies the legacies, traditions, and innovations that informed and preceded it.

Through a rich array of illustrations and its incisive text, American Wildlife Art will appeal to collectors, conservationists, and artists-to everyone who already enjoys wildlife art or who is learning about it for the first time. Wagner's authoritative and even-handed prose brings this compelling art form to life, reminding us of the treasures found on America's wild lands.

American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner
Published by Marquand Books
Hardcover with jacket
424 pages
280 color and 30 black-and-white illustrations
American Wildlife Art Overview (PDF 1.2MB)


David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Curator/Tour Director
(414) 221-6878; davidjwagnerllc@yahoo.com
FACEBOOK: David J. Wagner

SCHOLARLY RESEARCH:
- Taxidermy and Habitat Groups: The Milwaukee-Chicago Connection and The Birth of the Modern Diorama ( 94KB PDF)

LISTEN ONLINE:
- An interview of Dr. Wagner by Larry Meiller of Wisconsin Public Radio. (8/28/2008 @39 minutes) (Real Player required: www.real.com - free download)

- Art historian David Wagner joins sculptor Kent Ullberg and painter Robert Bateman in a discussion led by Christie Koriakin of Jackson Hole Community Radio (9/14/2010)
         (29:02 minutes edited for airing)

         (49:38 minutes full version)


Listen to an interview by Larry Meiller with Dr. Wagner on Wisconsin Public Radio (2008)

Latest News & Testimonials


Reviews about American Wildlife Art:
Arts Around Town: ‘Best of the best’ in AMERICAN WILDLIFE ART exhibit at Allentown Art Museum ~ Review by Susan Kalan
A journey through American wildlife art in Allentown ~ The Morning Call
Allentown Art Museum
The Society of Animal Artists Blog ~ AMERICAN WILDLIFE ART
AMERICAN WILDLIFE ART on Zvents
The Society of Animal Artists Blog ~ Rave Reviews
Thefishingwire.com Review
Review at Philly.com
AMERICAN WILDLIFE ART at Allentown Art Museum on Arts Salon WDIY Public Radio

Robert Bateman with David J. Wagner

Robert Bateman and David J. Wagner with the Artist's 1986 Acrylic, Everglades
at The McMichael Canadian Art Collection 2007 Premiere of THE ART OF ROBERT BATEMAN
arranged by David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Curator/Tour Director.


Testimonials about American Wildlife Art:

"I knew it [American Wildlife Art] would be good but this is beyond my expectations! It is incredibly well researched and very informative. This volume will stand as the definitive work on the subject for years to come ... perhaps forever. . . David Wagner is the number one intellectual in wildlife art certainly in America, maybe in the world." Robert Bateman, Painter www.robertbateman.ca

"Wildlife art could not have a more eloquent or knowledgeable spokesperson than David Wagner, and I'm sure that all artists working with wildlife today feel the same gratitude that I do for his dedication of so much of his life and talent to our field." Kent Ullberg, Sculptor www.kentullberg.net

"David J. Wagner, PhD is the preeminent academic authority on the subject of Wildlife Art in America. Early in his career, he served as director of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, where he established Birds In Art as the world's most prestigious annual exhibition of animal art. He also served as executive director of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and was a museum-studies adjunct faculty member at the Graduate School of New York University, Colorado College, and University of Wisconsin Extension. Today he combines working as a freelance consultant with duties as Tour Director for the Society of Animal Artists, and curator of numerous traveling shows, including current One-man Shows for Robert Bateman, Kent Ullberg and yours truly. (He also wrote the introduction for my book: www.rigorvitae.net). Dave's PhD dissertation was on the history of wildlife art in America, and he continues to lecture widely on the subject. He's been working on his Magnum Opus for several years, and the project is finally complete. American Wildlife Art will be released early in the new year by Marquand Books. At 424 pages, with over 300 illustrations, it promises to be the most complete history of representative animal art in North America to date." Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen http://rigorvitae.blogspot.com

"Avec ce livre, vous embarquez sur un navire qui vous conduira à la découverte du nouveau monde et de son histoire à travers l'évolution d'un art ancestral et séculaire: l'art animalier. Vous marcherez sur les traces des premiers découvreurs et des premiers artistes naturalistes qui avec une recherche et une patience infinies retranscrivaient au travers de leur art leurs émotions et leurs ressentis vis-à-vis de nouvelles espèces animales et botaniques jusqu'alors complètement inconnues. Au 18 et 19ème siècle, l'histoire des artistes animaliers (Alexander Wilson ou encore John James Audubon) se conjugue avec celle des Etats-Unis. D'énormes changements rythment la vie des hommes de cette Nation naissante. John James Audubon, part son travail absolument remarquable de finesse et de réalisme, est considéré comme un des premiers ornithologues du Nouveau Monde. Il peint des centaines de planches où souvent les oiseaux sont représentés dans leur milieu naturel. Cette manière de faire contraste avec celle de ses contemporains. Avec lui, une nouvelle page de l'histoire de l'art animalier américain fait son apparition. Au 19ème siècle, l'art animalier dépeint le plus fréquemment des scènes de chasse. Le Continent est vaste, les zones sauvages où le gibier prolifère nombreuses. Les scènes de chasse qui illustrent ce livre sont d'un réalisme fascinant. Arthur F. Tait fut un des artistes qui contribua à la démocratisation de l'art animalier. Avec la révolution industrielle, l'art animalier allait prendre un nouveau tournant. A la fin du 19ème siècle, Edward Kemeys, sculpteur de grand talent, montre pour la première fois des animaux dans un style différent ; la sculpture doit avant tout capturer l'esprit même de l'animal pour sublimer l'impression de mouvement ou appuyer une attitude. Beaucoup d'autres artistes s'engouffreront dans cette voie. Au 20ème siècle, les artistes animaliers continueront à faire évoluer le travail artistique dans ce sens. Malgré la grande dépression, les problèmes économiques, ou les guerres, nombreux seront les artistes de grand talent qui feront de leur passion et de leur art une profession. Certains iront encore plus loin. Robert Bateman, figure emblématique de l'art animalier, s'engagera dans la préservation des espaces sauvages, des espèces en danger et sera, avec le photo réalisme, un des pionniers dans la manière de peindre et d'appréhender cet art,. Avec lui, le voyage se termine et nous ramène au port car c'est lui qui justement a écrit l'introduction de ce merveilleux livre. Découvertes, histoires, illustrations. David J. Wagner maîtrise avec brio son sujet. Ce livre est un véritable régal pour les yeux et l'esprit et m'a apporté de la fierté à d'exercer ce métier d'artiste animalier hyperréaliste." Laurence Saunois http://www.laurencesaunois.com/

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American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner

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David J. Wagner, L.L.C.
Phone: (414) 221-6878
davidjwagnerllc@yahoo.com

Davidjwagnerllc.com is the official website of David J. Wagner.
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Member A.A.M., American Alliance of Museums
I.C.O.M., International Council of Museums