Art of the Animal

Art Auction Reviews

(Shown Above) Bob Kuhn (1920-2007) 24″ x 30″ Acrylic – Estimate: $75,000 – 125,000

The first art, the art of the caves in France, Spain, the South Seas, Africa, and elsewhere, is animal art. Followed fairly quickly-and by ‘fairly quickly’ I mean some 30,000 years ago-by the art of the hunt, featuring, for the first time, human hunters. In what might be the inception of the supernatural and religion, human-animal hybrids also appear early on the walls of these ancient art galleries and cathedrals, hunters in masks perhaps, trying to get close to their quarry, or superhero hunters, demigods who seemed to possess-or to be possessed by-the attributes of their prey.

Animal art and art of the hunt-wildlife and sporting art, to us-descends from our reverence (and, it must be said, our healthy fear and respect) of the disparate creatures that ruled the wilderness, those that fed us and those that prowled just outside the circle of light thrown by the fire. Artists throughout history have devoted themselves to depicting the mysteries of wildlife and the hunt-transformed over time into sport.

And isn’t that what we look for in animals, qualities that we ourselves would like to have? The strength of the lion; the cunning of the fox; the majesty of the mountain sheep; the power of the bear. Clans of early humans worshiped and adopted various animals, seeing the worthiness in their traits.

In the 2020 Scottsdale Art Auction, works by Wilhelm ‘Lion’ Kuhnert-the first Western artist to make the animals of Africa his subject-Scandinavian master Bruno Liljefors, and their descendants, John Whorf, Bob Kuhn, Ogden Pleissner, David Shepherd, Michael Coleman, Bonnie Marris, Luke Frazier, Ken Bunn, and Tim Shinabarger demonstrate a wide range of the ways that artists paint and sculpt cats and wolves, moose and mule deer, hunters and anglers. All of them reach back to those anonymous artists of the caves, finding eternal inspiration as they convey the beauty and glory of the world’s wildlife.

David Shepherd
9″ x 16″ Oil
Estimate: $8,000-$12,000

Tim Shinabarger
27″ Bronze
Estimate: $12,000-$18,000

Henry Shrady
13.5″ Bronze
Estimate: $75,000-$100,000

David Shepherd
9″ x 16″ Oil
Estimate: $8,000-$12,000

 

Jay Kemp
31 1/4 x 24″ Acrylic
Estimate: $12,000-$16,000

Tucker Smith
10 x 12″ Oil
Estimate: $8,000-$12,000

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