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Fish Stories

Now available through Art Bridges:

Fish Stories: Early Images of American Game Fishes

Fish Stories explores the artist as naturalist. In addition to more familiar artist/explorers such as John James Audubon and Martin Johnson Heade, nineteenth-century America produced a number of individuals who—through research and field study—observed, described, illustrated, and exhibited the natural world. In many cases their illustrations function as both scientific documentation and beautiful works of art.

Based on original watercolors by Samuel A. Kilbourne (1836-1881), a well-known landscape and nature painter of the time, this exhibition presents 20 color lithographs of American fish in their natural surroundings from the 1879-1880 publication Game Fishes of the United States. The text of Game Fishes was written by ichthyologist George Brown Goode (1851-1896). A museum curator and administrator at the Smithsonian Institution, Goode also led the fish research program of the United States Fish Commission and developed many theories and practices for museum administration. His belief in sharing scientific knowledge with the general public helped to fuel a growing nineteenth-century fascination with natural history exploration.

Organizer: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Space Requirements: 500-600 sf

Supporting Material: Didactics and extended label text, interactive gallery activity prompts

*Art Bridges Partner Institutions are eligible for financial support through an Exhibition Project. If you’d like to apply for support – and become a partner – start here.

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Tour Schedule

Available in 2021.

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