Sunday, March 1, 2020

Highlighting SAA Inaugural Members of 1960

Since we're celebrating the Society of Animal Artists 60th Anniversary this year, this month we continue with more history pertaining to the beginning years of the organization. In addition to the SAA Founders Patricia Allen (Bott) and Gudio Borghi, all of these artists listed below were inaugural members of the Society. The SAA archives currently lack records from 1960-1963, so there could be a few more artists that were active starting in 1960. Members starting in 1958 were part of the Animals in Bronx Zoo exhibition, which was the inspiration for founding the SAA two years later. Most of these members remained active with the SAA until their death.

(Photos of the artist's artwork shown below their paragraph)

Anna Hyatt Huntington (1960-1973) ~ Called the 3rd SAA member by Founder Patricia Allen, she was one of the foremost female artists of her time, known worldwide for her sculptures ranging in size from the miniature to the heroic, with her Joan of Arc statue located in NYC, perhaps the most famous. She, along with husband Archer Huntington, founded Brookgreen Gardens in 1931. Anna was active in the SAA leadership until 1973, serving as the Society’s 1st Vice-President, and was also a member of the National Academy of Design. 

Paul Bransom (1958-1979) ~ He was active in the SAA leadership until 1978 and served as one of the Society’s Presidents as well as on the membership jury. For several years Paul did much of his early work in a studio located inside the Bronx Zoo, a rare privilege indeed! He illustrated over 40 books of wildlife and animal stories, as well as hundreds of animal stories for numerous national magazines.

Joseph Boulton (1958-1981) ~ He was a sculptor, painter, teacher, and taxidermist, and studied at the National Academy of Design. He spent his childhood days working on ranches in Texas, so he could get the first-hand experience for doing western subjects and American Indians in art. He learned much about anatomy while caring for sick or injured animals and nursing them back to health.

Gardell Dano Christensen (1960-1991) ~ He was active in the SAA leadership until his death in 1991. He began working at the American Museum of Natural History at the age of 19. Several years later, he represented the museum in a year-long expedition to collect animals for the Akeley African Hall, from Africa. He was the first American artist to paint an okapi from life whilst in the Belgium Congo. He also illustrated and wrote several books.

Brenda Frey (1958-1966) ~ She was active in the SAA leadership until 1965, serving as the Society’s Treasurer and Secretary. Spending numerous hours as a young girl drawing and painting animals at a nearby city zoo, she became intrigued by the movement of the animals. The circus gave her a pass to paint behind the scenes for many years, where she painted many famous animals and clowns.

Harry L. Hoffman (1958-1964) ~ He specialized in brightly colored impressionistic paintings of marine life. While in the Bahamas, he developed a special bucket with a glass bottom that allowed him to clearly see the marine life below. He was also a member of the National Academy of Design.

Elizabeth Rungius Fulda (1958-1968) ~ She was active in the SAA leadership until 1967, serving as the Society’s first President as well as on the membership jury. At age 14, she began painting lessons from her brother Carl Rungius. She sketched from nature at her neighbor's large farms and in her own barnyard. Later on, she drew animals in the Berlin Zoological Garden, before moving to the United States in 1905, where she continued her animal studies in the Bronx Zoo, under her brother Carl's guidance.

Ugo Mochi (1958-1977) ~ He was active in the SAA leadership until 1972, serving as one of the Society’s Vice-Presidents.  Hailed as "a triumph for the ingenuity of human finger" in a London publication, Ugo was the greatest living exponent of shadows in outline and specialized in silhouettes typically from cut paper. after sketching a rough outline on white paper, he used a double-edged knife cut away from around the pencil lines, producing a beautiful, detailed and accurate design. His artworks were used as illustrations for numerous books.

Lloyd Sanford (1958-1971) ~ He was the art editor of the New Jersey Audubon Society, an illustrator for college‐level zoological texts and an illustrator of a variety of nature and animal books. As the staff artist for the New York Zoological Society, Lloyd produced over 4,000 paintings before his death, when he was tragically killed in a car accident.

Joel Stolper (1958-1964) ~ He specialized in illustrating and writing children’s books.  He also liked to draw the animals from life at the Bronx Zoo.  One of his illustrated books was "My Trip to the Zoo: A Visit to the New York Zoological Park".

Clarence Tillenius (1960-2012) ~ He was active in the SAA leadership until 1989, serving as one of the Society’s Western Representatives. Specializing in paintings, he did illustrations for nature and wildlife magazines for many years and was also particularly known for his work on dioramas, including those in the National Museum of Canada.

Clement Weisbecker (1958-1964) ~ He was particularly known for illustrations in comics including Betty & Veronica of Archie Comics, Captain America of Marvel Comics, and Lance O'Casey of Fawcett Comics.  In the comic world, he was known as "Clem". He loved to draw animals from life at the Bronx Zoo and was equally adept as a painter.

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We want to welcome the SAA's newest Patron member ~ America West Frames!  

Until next time ~ Rachelle Siegrist for the SAA