Offered by: Arader Galleries
1016 Madison Avenue New York City, NY 10075 , United States Call Seller 215.735.8811



Price Upon Request
  • Description
    Walton Ford (American, b. 1960)
    Heron Study for Vespers, 2022
    Watercolor, pen and ink on paper signed ‘W.P’ l.r.
    Paper size: 9 x 12 in.
    Frame size: 17 x 20 ½ in.

    Watercolor study of the head of a heron with an oval pen and ink drawing of the bird hanging upside down hovering just above the water. Ornithologists call this positioning Forward Throwing posture, where the bird grasps a branch while thrusting toward a prey item such as a fish.

    While many of Walton Ford’s monumental compositions are based on real events. Vespers is an exception. Ford explained his interest in this subject:

    Vespers is the least literary narrative because I don’t have a specific story. I was reading a book about this natural history fraud guy, Richard Meinertzhagen. He stole a lot of birds from the British Museum and said he discovered them. He did a whole bunch of terrible things. But I was trying to get an idea for a picture and all I know is I got this image in my head of a heron, which is what this is, a Great Blue Heron hanging like a bat, something a heron can’t do. But I wanted to create a completely false behavior as a sort of ornithological fraud, and make it look credible. And I think he really looks like he could do that. But there’s no way…

    I have created impossible poses for animals. It’s one of the little devices I like to use. But this one is very simple, kind of Baselitz-style. I thought, it would be fun to paint different birds hanging upside down like this. Audubon created a fake bird, like the Kooloo-kamba. Audubon has an eagle he said he discovered; I don’t think that he ever collected this eagle. So I thought of painting his eagle upside-down. You may as well say they do this if you’re going to make the whole animal up...I was drawing a lot of birds hanging upside-down and the heron really looked good that way. So I painted it. It’s really about frauds and liars, and that seems kind of timely, doesn’t it? (laugh) (Artist Walton Ford Walks with the Animals in a New Exhibition. Vogue, March 10, 2022)
  • More Information
    Documentation: Signed
    Period: 19th Century
    Condition: Good.
    Styles / Movements: Other
    Incollect Reference #: 637639
  • Dimensions
    W. 12 in; H. 9 in;
    W. 30.48 cm; H. 22.86 cm;
Message from Seller:

Founded in 1971, Arader Galleries is the world's leading dealer and auction house of Rare Maps, Prints, Rare Books and Watercolors of the 16th through 19th centuries. Over our forty-five year history we have grown to five magnificent locations in some of America’s most vibrant cities and are represented at the most distinguished antiques shows in the country. We are proud to buy and sell more original Audubon prints that any other firm in the United States.

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