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Abbott Handerson Thayer Wall Art

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American artist Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849 – 1921) was also a teacher and naturalist. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Thayer spent his childhood in rural New Hampshire, at the foot of Mount Monadnock, near Keene. He became an amateur naturalist in that rural setting – he was a trapper and hunter. He experimented with taxidermy, studied Audubon's Birds of America, and made his first paintings which were paintings of animals in watercolor. Thayer was sent to the Chauncy Hall School in Boston at the age of 15. Here, he met an amateur artist, Henry D. Morse, who painted animals. With Morse’s guidance, he really improved his painting skills, and mainly focused on birds and other wildlife, and soon he began getting commissions to produce animal portraits. He was known as a painter of landscapes, animals, figures and portraits. He influenced American art through his work as a teacher – he was training apprentices in his New Hampshire studio.

His paintings are represented in the major American art collections. Thayer is perhaps best known for his paintings of 'angels', some of which he used his children as models. He worked together with his son, Gerald Thayer, during the last third of his life. Together they worked on a major book titled “Concealing-Coloration in the Animal Kingdom” - about protective coloration in nature. The book was first published in 1909 by Macmillan, and then reissued in 1918. It is thought to have had an effect on military camouflage during the First World War. However the book was mocked by Theodore Roosevelt and others who claimed the authors assumed that all animal coloration is cryptic.
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