Birds, Maps, and Landscapes from Arader Galleries
By Michael Stillman
We have received the Arader Galleries' Directors Report for September-October 2007. Their Directors Reports offer a look at a few interesting items they are handling, along with news of events going on. These reports offer a more personal communication than the typical catalogue, an undoubtedly welcome update to friends and customers. Meanwhile, it offers a chance to consider a few of the more recent acquisitions available at Arader's six galleries across the U.S.A. They feature books, art and maps in particular. Here are a few of the items featured.
From the New York Galleries comes a complete set of The Naturalist's Library, by Sir William Jardine, issued from 1833-1845. These hand-size books, 4 1/2 x 6 3/4, make up for their small size in quantity. There are 40 volumes in all. This is a thorough encyclopedia of animal life, containing 1,280 plates of birds, insects, fish and other animals, along with detailed descriptions. Jardine was a particular scholar in the field of ichthyology, having written an extensive treatise on British salmon and trout.
Albert Bierstadt was one of the finest western artists of the 19th century. He began traveling to the sparsely inhabited territories of western America mid-century, and came back with sketches that became famous paintings. Bierstadt was of the Hudson River School, a group of artists who painted dramatic, romantic landscapes, primarily around the Hudson River Valley and nearby areas. All of that applies to this painting except location. The Arader Galleries has one of only four large-scale Bierstadt oil paintings from the Pacific Northwest. This painting is 65" x 94 3/4" and depicts 14,410 foot high Mt. Ranier, a far cry from the Catskills of the Hudson River Valley. Ranier dominates the Washington landscape for many miles, as this spectacular painting confirms (click the thumbnail image above left to view the painting).
The Philadelphia Gallery has a collection of watercolors of exotic animals painted around the turn of the 19th century. The artist was Charles Hamilton Smith, and he visited numerous museums and zoos to view the then strange animals he painted. These paintings may have been intended for a book that was never published.
The New York Galleries have the most important map from one of the most important atlases, the 1513 atlas from Martin Waldseemuller. The map is headed Tabula Terre Nove, and it depicts the New World just 20 years after its discovery by Columbus. While the proportions are a bit off, Cuba and Hispaniola are easy to recognize, as is a small but obvious Florida and Gulf of Mexico. Arader notes that Waldseemuller did not label the land "America," as he had on a map six years earlier, and attributes the observations on which it was based to the "Admiral," thought to be Columbus. This may indicate that Waldseemuller was correcting what he thought to be an earlier mistake in attributing the land's discovery to Amerigo Vespucci. If so, it was too late. The name stuck.