Friday, March 21, 2014

Abbott Handerson Thayer | His Life and Work

Abbott H. Thayer Camouflage Experiments (c1915)
Above Detail from an index page for a newly posted website on American artist, naturalist and pioneering camoufleur Abbott Handerson Thayer. Concurrent with the opening of a new exhibition of Thayer's camouflage-related work at the Army and Navy Club in Washington DC, a full-color catalog is now available online.


Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849-1921) was an important American artist in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and his paintings were commissioned by some of the foremost art collectors in the United States. He was also a lifelong wildlife advocate whose artistic focus never strayed far from his personal fascination with the natural world. In the 1890s, he began to publish articles in scientific journals on his developing theory of protective coloration. Through observing wildlife, he discovered that the coats of many animals employ color patterns that conceal them in their natural environments. He noticed, for instance, that the flecked coloring of woodland birds resembles the dappled effect of sunlight seen through branches and leaves. Plumage, according to Thayer, “is a sort of patchwork of pictures, subtly intermingled, each an epitome of some particular type or detail of woodland scenery.”  He called this phenomenon a “beautiful law of nature.” >>more>>