Three exceptional gamefish paintings by iconic American artist Stanley Meltzoff are among the highlights of a just-opened exhibition at the Allentown Art Museum.
The show is titled AMERICAN WILDLIFE ART and includes works by the likes of John J. Audubon, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, and Carl Rungius. Collectively, the show is a comprehensive survey of how America’s finest artists came to portray the birds, beasts, and fish of the New World.
Among the assortment’s finest works are three original oil paintings from the brush of Meltzoff (1917-2006). Meltzoff has long been recognized as the first and foremost painter of apex gamefish in their natural habitats. His work is highly sought after and hangs in museums and collections around the world. The three pictures on display here include RAY ON THE RIDGE WITH PERMIT, a large and sweeping vista of the flora and fauna representative of a North American coral reef.
Even more striking is a pair of Meltzoff canvasses featuring nearly identical scenes: one a small but tight study and the other a large finished canvas similar but not identical to the study. Titled WAHOO, CUDA, AND SHARK, both scenes depict the artist’s hierarchy of saltwater predators, from the swift and deadly wahoo atop a coral pyramid to the sluggish (by comparison) shark and modestly-sized barracuda underneath. Even for the non-artist, it’s fascinating to gaze on the lethal vistas and mark the small but significant compositional changes between the two.
The show is curated by Dr. David Wagner, author of American Wildlife Art and the genre’s definitive expert. The exhibition opened on September 29th and will run through year’s end. The universal quality of the artworks on display truly make this a viewing experience not to be missed by anyone with even a passing interest in America’s iconic fauna.
For more on Stanley Meltzoff, please visit www.silverfishpress.com.
Image courtesy Stanley Meltzoff