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August 13 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Chasing Butterflies: American Artists Collect Natural History5$ - 7$
Ellery Foutch, Assistant Professor, American Studies, Middlebury College
Several American artists have been drawn to butterflies, both for their intricate wing patterns and their symbolic associations. This talk explores artists’ pursuit of butterflies and their experimentations with representation from the early 19th century to today. Examples include Titian Peale’s sketches, oil paintings, and elaborate specimen boxes that encased and displayed butterflies between panes of glass in dazzling patterns; Sherman Foote Denton, whose family’s mail order company manufactured display mounts that they promised would “make each specimen a picture;” Old Lyme Artist Willard Metcalf, who purchased dozens of Denton patented mounts in which to display his own collection; and contemporary artist Damien Hirst, who has collaged butterfly wings into compositions resembling stained glass windows.