The Art of the Miniature: Rare Carvings by the Masters

October 1, 2016 - January 15, 2017
Cerulean Warber
Cerulean Warbler by Jess Blackstone (1909-1988). Private collection.

The Art of the Miniature features rare works by six masters of miniature bird carving: Jess Blackstone, Elmer Crowell, A. J. Dando, A. J. King, Joseph Lincoln and Robert Morse. These six carvers approached their work in widely varying ways, from the meticulous artistry of King to the supremely stylized forms and paint of Lincoln.

Of particular note is an astonishing group of fifty-nine miniature waterfowl by the renowned decoy carver, Elmer Crowell, from the collection of Richard Scott. Perhaps Crowell’s earliest known carvings, they date between 1895 and 1905. All are on uniquely formed plinth bases, many with crisply knifed edges and lush, decoratively patterned paint. They have never before been seen in public.

Harlequin Duck Drake
Harlequin Duck Drake by A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952). Collection of Richard Scott.

The artworks on view have been loaned from eight private collections, as well as the collections of the Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank and the Shelburne Museum; some are from Mass Audubon’s own collection. The exhibition was curated by Gigi Hopkins, author of Massachusetts Masterpieces: The Decoy as Art, recently published by the Museum.