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Prairie Chicken

ca. 1870s Edward Kemeys Born: Savannah, Georgia 1843 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 1907 bronze 15 1/2 x 8 x 8 in. Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Charlotte J. Patterson and Herbert L. Patterson in memory of Elizabeth Z. Patterson 2002.78 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 16B


Luce Center Quote

"I set to work not a moment too soon, hunted the wild animals, and studied them." The artist, quoted in Edward Kemeys, 18431907: America's First Animal Sculptor, 1972

Luce Center Label

In the 1860s and 1870s, prairie chicken leks, or breeding grounds, were a common sight across the Midwest. As more settlers moved westward, however, farmers converted tall-grass prairie to cropland. Edward Kemeys's sculpting career began just before prairie chicken populations shrank from habitat loss. Here he preserves and celebrates the male of the species by accurately depicting the bird's form, paying particular attention to the characteristic eyebrow texture and long pointed neck feathers, called pinnae. Kemeys also took care when modeling the bird's posture. The angled pinnae show this male poised for display or attack.

Keywords

Animal - bird - grouse

sculpture

About Edward Kemeys

Born: Savannah, Georgia 1843 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 1907

More works in the collection by
Edward Kemeys