Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wildlife Artist, Illustrator Walter Alois Weber

Walter Alois Weber is one of the most noted of wildlife illustrators. As I was sorting through my books about wildlife and animals, I came across Homes and Habits of Wild Animals. This is one of my very favorites. The wildlife portraits are breathtaking.

Weber (1906-1979) is a native of my own hometown, Chicago. According to interviews, Weber developed his talent for drawing at an early age and used to sell his drawings at a local tavern so he could buy soda pop. He later studied at the University of Chicago and the Art Institute, and worked for the Field Museum. His resume goes on . . . He spent many years as an artist for National Geographic Society and he was the first artist to win the duck stamp award.

I like the softness of his painting. While his wildlife drawing is excellent, there is a certain romanticism to the the picture as a whole, no doubt enhanced by the beautiful background landscape. Here are three from the book:

The Alaskan brown bear. The soft greens and blues of the mountain stream are lovely. Makes me want to take a trip up north.

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The Barren Ground Caribou on its annual migration through the icy northern country. The lilac and blue tones truly evoke a feeling for that beautiful wintry land.

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In the river otter portrait, I like the way he captures the playful nature of the animal.

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Here, also is the cover of Friendly Animals. While the cover was illustrated by Weber, the inside pages were done by Percy Reeves. Reeves has a less realistic style, but it is quite charming.

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