Friday, April 18, 2014

Exhibits at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute

The Roger Tory Peterson Institute will host Environmental Impact  from May 24 – July 6, 2014 followed by
Exquisite Miniatures by Wes & Rachelle Siegrist from July 12 – October 31, 2014


The mission of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute is to honor and continue the work of Roger Tory Peterson to foster understanding, appreciation and protection of the natural world.  Roger Tory Peterson (1908 – 1996) was a long-time member of The Society of Animal Artists, and the pre-eminent American naturalist who illustrated and chronicled the natural world to the public in the 20th century. Over a long career that began with nature study in the seventh grade in Jamestown, New York, he observed, recorded and published for lay audiences the incredible beauty and diversity of plants and animals from North America and around the world. He is best known for his seminal 1934 Field Guide to the Birds, and subsequent Field Guides of all kinds.
The Roger Tory Peterson Institute is a short drive from The Chautauqua Institute which, in 1992, hosted a world-wide conference on wildlife art organized at the behest of Roger Tory Peterson by Dr. David J. Wagner to mark the opening of new facilities for The Roger Tory Peterson Institute and the premiere in Jamestown of the 32nd Annual Exhibition of The Society of Animal Artists.  David Wagner recently arranged to have the Society of Animal Artists 55th Annual Exhibition at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute again in 2015.

Value in American Wildlife Art, The Transcript from the 1992 World-Wide Forum Sponsored by The Roger Tory Peterson Institute held in Jamestown, New York and The Chautauqua Institute, is available at: I

Friday, March 28, 2014




A Special Edition Exhibition of The Art of Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen will be displayed as the featured attraction at The Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center at Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska from June 1 until September 30, 2014 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of President Johnson's signing of the Wilderness Act on September 3, 1963.  The exhibition is produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C., David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Curator/Tour Director.

Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center, Chadron State College,1000 Main Street,Chadron, NE

Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen is a painter of Dutch descent, who explores the rich diversity of the natural world from exceptionally unique perspectives.  The artist’s self-stated goal is to say as much as he can about how organisms live and interact with other organisms and their environments.  Brest van Kempen, who is also interested in prehistoric subject matter, paints from first-hand experience and knowledge.  He has traveled across Africa and Central and South America, and studied both threatened and extinct species and their ecosystems in detail.

            Since he was a child, Brest van Kempen has always been a student of nature.  He spent his youth exploring untracked back country along the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains; drawing, studying, and collecting native flora and fauna.  As a boy, Brest van Kempen practiced falconry and bred lizards.  He began drawing wildlife when he was only three years old and created his first painting at the age of twelve.  At the University of Utah, his studies focused on biology, which he hoped to teach, and field work.  By 1988, his interests in art and nature matured to the point where he could pursue a full-time career of painting.  Though Brest van Kempen is among the most highly accomplished technicians in the entire art world, and among the most creative, he is essentially self-taught.  Brest van Kempen paints in a highly realistic manner.  Unique in the world of wildlife art, Brest van Kempen’s approach is reminiscent of the art of Salvador Dali, which has always fascinated him. There is no other wildlife artist who paints like Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen; his approach and style is truly unique.

                              ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS (Acrylic/Illustration Board, 20x26)

Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen has exhibited his works throughout the world and earned numerous awards.  He is a member of the prestigious Society of Animal Artists which has awarded him awards on multiple occasions, including their highest honor, the Award of Excellence, in 1994, 1996, 1997, 2004, and 2010.

      STRANGE FRUIT-- IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER (Acrylic/Illustration Board, 37x27)

Public collections containing his works include the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the Springville Art Museum, the Woodson Art Museum, The World Center for Birds of Prey, and Vermont’s Bennington Center for the Arts.

            REANIMATION— COMMON POORWILL (Acrylic/Illustration Board, 36x26)

            A book entitled, Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding—The Art of Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen, which was written by the artist, and includes a Foreword by Belgian painter, Carl Brenders, and an Introduction by Curator, Dr. David J. Wagner, was published by Eagle Mountain Publishing and is available at Eagle Mountain Publishing at (801) 789-4149 or


was previously displayed at The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, AZ; The Wildlife Experience (museum) in Denver, CO; The Wildling Art Museum near Santa Barbara, CA; and The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum in the great New York City area, and The Kenosha Public Museum near Chicago.

THREE MORE WORLDS—RAINBOW TROUT & OSPREY (Acrylic/Illustration Board, 35x26)

David J. Wagner, L.L.C.
by David J. Wagner, Ph.D.
Curator/Tour Director
Office Phone: (414) 221-6878
Cell: (414) 712-0863
Skype: davidjwagnerllc
For e-mails with large attachments, e-mail:
Recipient of the 2010 SKBF Black-Parkman Award for Art Industry Leadership

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

 Differing opinions of Elephants

Elephant! 20x30" acrylic, by Alison Nicholls
Elephants provoke strong opinions. Tourists want to see them on safari, and usually encounter calm, relaxed elephants in protected national parks, viewing them from the relative safety of a vehicle. However, rural-dwelling Africans are more likely to encounter elephants on foot, outside protected areas, in places and situations where elephants are more wary of, or aggressive towards, people. Children who have to pass elephant herds on their walk to school, or families whose crops are trampled and eaten by hungry elephants may feel fear and distrust rather than admiration and wonder when they see elephants.

Elephant! resulted from a conversation I had with Maasai men in Tanzania, while I visited the African People & Wildlife Fund (APW). The men looked through my sketchbook, seeing sketches of people, cattle and homesteads, but their first question to me was ‘are you afraid of elephants?’. The question made me think more about their encounters with elephants and resulted in this painting, which illustrates two contrasting views. The large head on the left of center is an elephant cow, painted in a relaxed pose, with her long, gently curved trunk leading to smaller images of the herd and a safari vehicle containing tourists. The washes of color used on this side of the painting have soft edges and there is a circular flow, down the elephant’s trunk, around the herd and towards the vehicle. In contrast the large elephant head on the right is an agitated bull. His ears are raised and his trunk curled, while his upturned tusks point towards 2 more bulls in similar poses, and a man attempting to keep the elephants away from his maize crop and home. On this side of the painting there are stronger reds and hard-edged washes, while the smaller elephants are angular and facing opposite directions.

Many of Africa’s elephants live or spend time outside protected reserves, alongside a growing human population, and as competition increases between people and wildlife over access to natural resources, human-wildlife conflict increases too. It is African people who will ultimately decide the fate of Africa’s wildlife and determine whether to accept the hazards of living beside Earth’s largest land mammal, so finding solutions that allow people & wildlife to share natural resources amicably is a high priority. Part of APW’s mission statement is to “support the collective management of natural resources for the mutual benefit of people and wildlife” and with the majority of their staff being residents of the local area, they are well placed to assist the community with plans to alleviate poverty, conserve biodiversity and reduce human-wildlife conflict – outcomes which will benefit both people and elephants.

The original of Elephant! is available for sale and a significant percentage of the sale proceeds will be donated to APW. Limited edition giclées are also available with a 20% donation to APW from the sale of each piece. Please contact Alison Nicholls for further information:

Alison Nicholls AFC SAA
Art Inspired by Africa

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Monday, March 10, 2014


An Exhibition Dedicated to James E. Parkman,
Founder & Chairman, Susan Kathleen Black Foundation

Premiere: The R.W. Norton Art Gallery
Shreveport, LA: March 4 - May 25, 2014

Produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C.

On-Line Catalogue
Wes Siegrist
"A Few Things I've Found I"

AMERICAN STILL LIFES is a new traveling exhibition which features works by a range of artists recognized for their brilliant compositions and dazzling technique. Exhibiting artists include Daniel Mark Cassity, Loren DiBenedetto, Camille Engel, Berry Fritz, David Gray, Sharon Lloyd Hourigan, Jane Jones, Charles Gilbert Kapsner, Janet Laird-Lagassee, Laurin McCracken, Brian O'Neill, Soon Warren, and SAA Members, Wes Siegrist and Rachelle Siegrist!

Rachelle Siegrist
"Mmmm … Chocolate!"
The exhibition features several works by each artist to demonstrate the breadth, depth, and versatility of their individual output.  While historians generally view the 17th century as "the golden age" of still-life painting in Europe, today's American masters not only remain as enthusiastic as ever about the artistic possibilities of depicting inanimate objects for the sake of their qualities of form, color, texture, and composition, but also build on traditions developed by artists who worked in the Netherlandish Lowlands, in new and interesting ways.  Common place objects such as plants, fruit, vegetables, dishes, and bottles, and even occasionally the depiction of skulls, candles, and even allegorical subject matter in so-called "vanitas," remain as popular as ever today, but often in new aesthetic contexts shaped by twentieth-century innovations and movements such as Cubism, Pop Art, and Photorealism.  In what can only be described as an eclectic, layered ethos, many artists today remain rooted in tradition, while others see still life painting as a vehicle to explore new artistic possibilities or to convey political or social meaning.  Today's still life artists still orchestrate innate objects and direct light to create visual interest, but often as not feature contemporary subject matter portrayed in a variety of palettes and contemporary styles.  A relatively pure, even abstract, form of art, still life remains as popular a genre as ever.  And the work contained in this exhibition embodies the diversity, range, and achievement in American still life painting today.

Rachelle Siegrist
"Still Life With Granny's Pheasant"
Wes Siegrist
"A Few Favorite Lures"
Rachelle Siegrist
"A Gift Bouquet"
Wes Siegrist
"A Captured Moment In Time"
Wes Siegrist
"A Few Things I've Found II"


(414) 221-6878;

Member: American Alliance of Museums & International Council of Museums

Saturday, February 15, 2014

An Artist in the Field -Africa

In October of 2013, a group of mostly SAA member artists traveled to Tanzania to participate in a project to fight against the poaching of elephants, which has reached a critical stage. In addition to elephants, the artists saw and photographed/sketched many other species.

Sandy Scott, sculptor, was one of the participants and has written an excellent series about how an artist works in the field. Check out her blog for a series of articles on how an artist gathers reference in the field for work in the studio:

SANDY SCOTT: A RETROSPECTIVE, produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C., will premiere in 2016 at Brookgreen Gardens, the famed estate of sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, in Murrells Inlet, SC.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Guy Harvey and Kent Ullberg

The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, Oradell, NJ, will host the traveling museum exhibition of sculpture by Kent Ullberg along with a companion exhibition of paintings by Guy Harvey from February 1 - April 30, 2014. The pairing of the two artists for this particular exhibition was a result of a special request by Blauvelt Board Chairman, Jim Bellis, Jr. A reception for the artists, who are long-time friends and enjoy diving and fishing together, will be held at the museum on the afternoon of Sunday, March 9, 2014, and include book signings and formal presentations. The project is a production of David J. Wagner, L.L.C.

Guy Harvey

Guy Harvey combines his significant artistic talents with a broad and deep body of knowledge as a marine biologist, diver, photographer and angler, to create marine wildlife art with an extraordinary authenticity and visual appeal. Self-taught, Guy’s artistic roots can be traced back to his childhood on the Caribbean isle of Jamaica, where he spent many hours fishing and diving with his father along the island’s south coast. Guy’s obsession with the creatures of the sea inspired early drawings of the many different fish he observed. While attending a boarding school in England at an early age, Guy became entranced by Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” — and began developing a series of sketches that years later would prove instrumental in helping launch his career as an artist. Though Guy was interested in pursuing his love of marine art, he opted for scientific training and worked hard in pursuit of an education — both in Scotland and back in Jamaica — and a career in marine biology. Along the way, Guy was able to supplement his income by selling his art, and a loyal following led to his first exhibition in 1985 — a one-man art show at a Kingston gallery of his 44 pen-and-ink drawings inspired by “The Old Man and the Sea.” The success of the exhibition encouraged Guy to spend more time painting, and by 1986 his work had spread to Florida through a series of showings at boat shows and fishing tournaments. By 1988, Guy Harvey had become identified as one of the world’s top saltwater gamefish artists, and was experiencing so much success that he gave up his career in marine biology to pursue his hobby full-time. Though recognized most recently for his floor-to-ceiling murals at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport and at Nova Southeastern University in Florida — Guy is known best for his dynamic gamefish T-shirt designs. His original paintings have sold for tens of thousands of dollars, and today, reproductions of his art — often seen on magazine and catalog covers — are offered as limited edition prints, and can be found on a wide variety of clothing and gift items. Guy maintains his art studio in Grand Cayman, where he lives with wife Gillian and their two children, Jessica and Alex.

Kent Ullberg

Kent Ullberg was born in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1945.  As a young man, Ullberg studied at the Swedish Konstfack School of Art in Stockholm, and at museums in France, Germany, and the Netherlands.  In 1967, Ullberg was offered a one-year job as a safari taxidermist in Botswana, Africa.  After that, he went on his own, working independently as a taxidermist and a guide.  Among his clients was the Denver Museum of Natural History.  This connection came about through Alec Campbell, Director of Wildlife and National Parks, and the Botswana National Museum and Art Gallery.  In 1969, he hired Ullberg to assist with an expedition for the Denver Museum of Natural History to collect specimens for its new African Hall.  Pleased with Ullberg’s performance, Campbell subsequently hired Ullberg as Curator of the Botswana National Museum and Art Gallery.  During this period, Ullberg also kept busy sculpting African wildlife.  In 1974, Ullberg’s career and life were re-directed to the United States when Charles Crockett, Director of the Denver Museum of Natural History offered him an appointment to curate the museum’s African Hall, at the highest salary possible, along with airfare and relocation expenses.  Realizing that this was an opportunity of a lifetime, Ullberg accepted and flew from Gaborone to New York where he arrived on May 17, 1974, and then on to Denver.  In Denver, Ullberg quickly befriended various artists but none more helpful than sculptors, Kenn Bunn, and George Carlson, a second-generation Swedish-American.  They introduced Ullberg to Bob Zimmerman, who had established a foundry named Art Castings of Colorado in Loveland about 30 miles north of Denver.  Today, Kent is a member of a number of important art organizations which have honored him with prestigious awards.  These include, in New York City, Allied Artists of America, National Academy of Design, National Arts Club, National Sculpture Society, and the Society of Animal Artists.  Those outside New York include the American Society of Marine Artists, Ambler, PA; and the National Academy of Western Art, Oklahoma City.  Kent Ullberg supports wildlife conservation and has given generously to its various causes.  He resides with his wife, Veerle on Padre Island, in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Friday, January 17, 2014



The International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission Crocodile Specialist Group has invited John Agnew to be the featured artist of its 23rd Working Meeting from May 26-30, 2014 at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  Information about the meeting can be found here:

The exhibition, which will be displayed at the McNeese State University Art Gallery will consist of a cameo selection from the traveling museum exhibition, CROCODILIAN SCRATCHBOARDS BY JOHN AGNEW produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C.   A partial, on-line catalogue to the  exhibition cat be found here:

      New Guinea Crocodile, scratchboard, 8x10

John Agnew began his career in natural history museums and zoos where he designed exhibits, produced illustrations, and painted murals and dioramas in the U.S. and as far away as Moscow.  In his hometown alone, he has produced nearly thirty thousand square feet of murals and dioramas for the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and Science, the Cincinnati Zoo, and Cincinnati and Hamilton County Parks. One of John's favorite subject groups is Crocodilians.  While John works in a variety of media, he most often portrays crocs in scratchboard because it is so well suited to the textures and detail of these pre-historic subjects.

 Crocodile Dreams, scratchboard, 11x14

CROCODILIAN SCRATCHBOARDS BY JOHN AGNEW explores crocodilians as studies in texture and form.  Agnew likes the scratchboard technique for its affinity to the engravings in early texts about zoology, and its ability to treat the species in exquisite detail.  The contrast of black and white lines is well suited for showing off intimate details of a crocodile’s scaly texture.  Intimate portraits like those above, plus scenes from daily crocodilian life and even interactions with humans are all subjects explored in this exhibit.  In addition to scratchboard, field sketches and paintings of crocodilians and their world-wide habitat round out this exhibit.

  Shadow Dragons, scratchboard 11x14

 John has traveled worldwide in search of his subjects, including Borneo, Thailand and the Peruvian Amazon in addition to much of the United States.  Among John's many accomplish-ments and honors was his  2011 appointment as Artist in Residence at Everglades.  John Agnew's  work has been featured in The Artist’s Magazine, Reptiles Magazine, and various other periodicals.  In 2001, North Light Books published a book entitled Painting The Secret World Of Nature entirely written and illustrated by John Agnew.