Today we have five great artists to highlight, as they’re all connected in one way: they each have works available for purchase through this year’s NSLM Annual Auction. The Auction is an annual fundraiser for NSLM, and proceeds go to the support of our collections. Thanks to a generous donor, this year’s Auction has some significant selections from great artists, and they make perfect holiday gifts for the sporting enthusiasts in your life! The Auction continues to November 8, so be sure to contact us soon to get involved.
Frank W. Benson
Frank W. Benson (1862-1951) was a fantastic sporting artist and American impressionist from Massachusetts. He is credited as the founder of the school of the American sporting print and one of the most accomplished artists to work within that genre. Benson studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and in 1883 the Académie Julien in Paris. He produced oil and watercolor paintings as well as etchings of wildfowl. The influence of impressionism on his work is often apparent in his sporting etchings.
Born in Elkhart, Indiana, William J. Schaldach (1896-1982) was an avid angler and wildfowl hunter from a very young age. In his 20s, Schaldach moved to New York to study art. He established himself as a talented watercolorist, but he continued to take lessons for years, learning etching and drypoint. By the 1930s he was a regular contributor to magazines such as Field and Stream, American Forests, and Outdoor Life. He wrote and edited several books on art, including a 1945 biography of sporting artist Carl Rungius.
Roland Clark (1874-1957) was known primarily for his etchings of game birds, and he gained great familiarity with those species through a life of waterfowl hunting. Though waterfowl hunting around was his great passion, Clark was also an enthusiastic angler, rider, and sailor. His work draws mainly on sketches from life in the field, and collections of his many etchings were used in his books recounting his experiences hunting.
Aiden Lassell Ripley
Aiden Lassell Ripley (1896-1969) was born in Boston; his father was a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Though Ripley showed promise as a musician (playing piano and tuba), he chose art instead. He joined the army during World War I, and after his discharge he studied with Frank Benson at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to specialize in landscapes. Ripley adapted his art to incorporate sporting scenes during the Great Depression, as sales of sporting art remained relatively strong throughout the period. The adaptation stayed with him, and Ripley continued to portray game birds and sporting scenes throughout his career.
Robin Hill (b. 1932) was born in Australia before his family moved to England. Throughout his childhood, Hill spent many hours outdoors finding freedom from the restrictions of school. He trained in art at Wimbledon School of Art and the National Gallery of Art School, as well as the Royal Melbourne College. His love of nature and passion for the outdoors led him to focus exclusively on painting and writing about natural history. That passion is reflected in his meticulous attention to detail in his portrayal of wildfowl. Although Hill is best known for his paintings of birds, he has also expanded his repertoire to include paintings of dogs, farm animals, and other wildlife. He continues to produce wonderful artwork from his studio in Washington, D.C.
Works by all five of these artists are available for purchase through the NSLM Annual Auction. The Annual Auction, composed of duplicates from the Library collections, will continue until November 8. Contact John Connolly, the George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Librarian for more information.