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Edward Kemeys
Buffalo and Wolves
1876
bronze
20 x 30 3/8 x 19 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of J. Willis Johnson



Fascinated with animals since childhood, Edward Kemeys has been called “America's first animal sculptor.” Largely self-taught, he began to make wax models of wildlife in 1868. In the early 1870s he joined buffalo-hunting expeditions in the “rugged and untamed West.” “I think I learned more there during that six months than at any other time; and right here let me say, don't make too much of my hunting. I was a hunter for a purpose—to study men and animals.” Buffalo and Wolves, a moving image of a buffalo attacked by wolves, was shown to much acclaim at the Paris Salon of 1878 and praised for its precise anatomical detail and intense emotional appeal.