Prairie Chicken

  • Edward Kemeys, Prairie Chicken, ca. 1870s, bronze, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Charlotte J. Patterson and Herbert L. Patterson in memory of Elizabeth Z. Patterson, 2002.78

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.
Luce Object 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
Title
Prairie Chicken
Artist
Date
ca. 1870s
Location
Dimensions
15 1/2 x 8 x 8 in.
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Charlotte J. Patterson and Herbert L. Patterson in memory of Elizabeth Z. Patterson

Mediums Description
bronze
Classifications
Keywords
  • Animal – bird – grouse
Object Number
2002.78
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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