Rose Chino Garcia

Born 1928, Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico

Died 2000, Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico

Duck effigy bowl, early 20th century

Earthenware with pigment

Gift of Mel and Mary Cottom, 2012.186

Garcia’s stylized duck is modeled on ancient ceremonial effigy vessels that feature human, animal, or zoomorphic (mixed) shapes. Effigy bowls were ceremonial and often used to hold burial goods. Garcia’s is decorated with a geometric black on white design inspired by the pottery of the Mimbres, ancestors of the Acoma. The duck has varied associations among Pueblo peoples. “Pawick” is the Hopi Duck Katsina, one of many spirits representing natural aspects of the real world. In Zuni beliefs, the duck is a fetish for the spirits of those who have passed on, making its image appropriate for a bowl used as part of a burial ceremony.

John Frederick Helm, Jr.

Born 1900, Syracuse, New York

Died 1972, Manhattan, Kansas

Mallard, ca. 1939

Aquatint with drypoint

Gift of Mary Brownell Helm, 1985.115

The Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is the ancestor of nearly all domestic ducks and is found almost everywhere. Like many “dabbling ducks” that feed on the water’s surface, its body is long and its tail rides high out of the water. Helm’s realistic depiction of a male Mallard lacks color, but the breed’s distinctive markings are evident: Males have a dark, iridescent-green head and bright yellow bill, and a gray body sandwiched between a brown breast and black rear. The bodies of females and juveniles are mottled brown with orange-brown bills. Both sexes have an iridescent blue “speculum” patch of color on the wing.

Franz Van Leemputten 

Born 1850, Werchter, Belgium 

Died 1914, Antwerp, Belgium 

Shepherdess, late 19th century 

Oil on canvas 

1968.7 

Van Leemputten’s bucolic scene of a shepherdess with her flock is a common eighteenth and nineteenth subject in art. Idealized, the pasture and its denizens reflect a nostalgia for rural life during a period of industrialization and urbanization. Unlike other grazing animals, sheep (Ovis aries) require constant attention, hence the need for someone to watch over them. Because of their herd mentality, they often follow each other blindly into dangerous situations. 

John Steuart Curry 

Born 1897, Dunavant, Kansas 

Died 1946, Madison Wisconsin 

Sheep Field Hillside, 1924 

Watercolor with graphite on paper 

Bequest of Kathleen G. Curry, 2002.1484 

Curry likely chose the subject of sheep because of his farm roots. He may have been intrigued by this flock in New York State, where he was vacationing, because of controversies related to the animal in his home state of Kansas. After their introduction to Kansas in the 1870s, sheep became a source of contention among landowners. Many thought that sheep grazing habits ruined pastures for cattle. This led to fencing off of pastureland among neighbors. 

Grace Thurston Arnold Albee 

Born 1890, Scituate, Rhode Island 

Died 1985, Bristol, Rhode Island 

A Peaceful Afternoon, 1943 

Wood engraving 

Gift of John Cranston Heintzelman, 1965.10

Albee’s goat appears peaceful, but its surroundings are chaotic. The domestic goat (Capra aegagrus hircusis) is naturally curious, likes to climb, and is notorious for escaping its enclosure. A quick climb up the debris, and this goat would be free. 

Pablo Picasso 

Born 1881, Málaga, Spain 

Died 1973, Mougins, France 

Tête de Chevre de Profil, 1952 

Painted and partially glazed stoneware 

Gift of Ruth Miller, 1993.11

Picasso depicted goats in many different mediums. He had a pet goat named Esmeralda, which he won as a prize in a local French lottery. He would describe at length how he adored this goat, despite its unruly behavior. As someone who avoided convention himself, Picasso may have identified with this maverick animal. The goat on his plate seems to have a mischievous twinkle in its wideopen eye. 

Nora Othic

Born 1954, San Francisco, California

Small White Rabbit, 2006

Pastel on paper

Acquisition made possible with funds provided by the Friends of the Beach Museum of Art, 2006.89

Othic says she has felt a connection to farm animals since she was a child, seeing them as a bridge between humans and the rest of the natural world. The artist was raised on a farm and still lives on one. She goes to the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia every year to take reference photos for her drawings. Her quiet portraits present each animal as unique. Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are a favorite subject.

Imao Keinen

Born 1845, Kyoto, Japan

Died 1924, Kyoto, Japan

Two Rabbits in Moonlight, early 20th century

Woodblock print with watercolor on paper

S21.2017

Keinen is well-known for his kacho-e (images of birds and flowers), so this rabbit is a departure. By placing these rabbits under a full moon, Keinen may be referencing the moon rabbit or moon hare. In Japanese lore, a rabbit uses a mortar and pestle to pound rice for mochi, a chewy New Year treat, and the rabbit’s shape can be seen in the dark markings of the moon.

Leo Meissner 

Born 1895, Detroit, Michigan 

Died 1977, Portland, Maine 

Watchful Waiting, 1937 

Wood engraving 

Acquisition made possible with funds provided by Ron and Mary Andersen, 1996.25 

The Scotty featured in Meissner’s print is formally known as the Scottish or Aberdeen Terrier. The first written records of this breed of dog (Canis lupus familiaris) date from 1436, when Don Leslie described it in his book,The History of Scotland 1436–1561When King James VI became James I of England during the seventeenth century, he sent six terriers to a French monarch as a gift. His love and adoration for the breed increased its popularity throughout the world. 

Clara Tice 

Born 1888, Elmira, New York 

Died 1973, Forest Hills, New York 

Pekinese, 20th century 

Etching 

Bequest of Raymond and Melba Budge, 1992.221

Pekinese dogs originated in China and were favored by royalty. The name comes from Peking (Beijing), where the royal Forbidden City was located. Chinese legend says a lion and a marmoset fell in love, but the lion was too large. The lion went to the Buddha and told him of his woes. The Buddha allowed the lion to shrink down to the size of the marmoset, and the Pekingese was the result. The Pekinese did not feature in Tice’s 1940 bookABC DogsPoodle beat it out for the letter P.

Norman Akers (Osage Nation and Pawnee) 

Born 1958, Fairfax, Oklahoma 

Ships of Change, 2008 

Monotype 

Friends of the Beach Museum of Art Kansas Art Fund, 2012.148 

Native American creation stories tell of how the earth was formed by piling soil on the back of a great sea turtle. Many indigenous tribes still refer to North America as Turtle Island. Akers’ art is often collage-like and filled with symbolic imagery that is sometimes connected to Native beliefs and sometimes open to interpretation. In this case, the turtle might be understood as the original “ship,” seen alongside early European sailing vessels. 

Mary Singer 

Born 1936, Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico 

Turtle, 1976 

Black on black earthenware 

Gift of Mary Cottom, 2014.438

Singer created this turtle (order Testudinesin the famous polished blackware pottery tradition of the Santa Clara Pueblo. The turtle in Southwest tribes such as the Hopi and Navajo represents water, a precious commodity in the region

Louis ShipShee (Prairie Band Potawatomi)

Born 1896, Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation, Kansas

Died 1975, Topeka, Kansas

Young Male Bison, mid-20th century

Oil on canvas

Gift of Donald Lambert, 2014.169

ShipShee’s portrait of the American Bison (Bison bison) honors the animal critical to the survival of Native peoples living on the Great Plains during the nineteenth century. In addition to providing large quantities of meat, bison yielded hides for shelter and clothing, dung for fuel, horns and bones for tools and utensils, bladders for containers, hair for rope, and sinews for bowstrings. While ShipShee was born after the near-extinction of the Bison, the animal would have been an important part of his cultural heritage.

Patricia DuBose Duncan

Born 1932, Nashville, Tennessee

Bison and Magpie, 1991

Photocopy collage with colored pencil and charcoal on paper

Gift of the artist, 1998.56

During the 1990s Duncan used her photography and mixed-media compositions to support the preservation of Kansas prairies. She played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve north of Strong City, Kansas, in 1996. One aim of the prairie movement in Kansas was to rejuvenate the bison population, which had been decimated by white hunters during the second half of the nineteenth century. Only 550 of the animals remained in 1889. Today bison number more than 400,000 in North America. Most of these prairie-preserving herbivores roam in publicly owned parks such as the Konza Prairie outside of Manhattan, Kansas, which currently has a herd of 286. An increasing number of bison are also raised on private ranches.

Sven Birger Sandzén 

Born 1871, Blidsberg, Sweden 

Died 1954, Lindsborg, Kansas 

Study of a Camel, 1920 

Lithograph 

1984.26 

Sandzén’s camel, like Doyle’s, is the single hump Dromedary (Camelus dromedarius) native to the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula. Contrary to common belief, camels do not store water in their humps; their humps contain fatty tissue that when metabolized will yield the animal a small amount of water.

John Doyle 

Born 1939, Chicago, Illinois 

Died 2010, Burnsville, North Carolina 

Bedouin, from the series The Great Human Race, 1978 

Lithograph 

Gift of Phillip and Linda Energren, 2017.3fff 

Doyle’s multi-part suite of prints, The Great Human Race, is an anthropological presentation of world cultures and their contributions. The artist wrote of his camelriding Bedouin, “The precursors of the Islamic Armies that spread the word of Allah throughout the Middle East, Africa and parts of Europe, were the nomadic warriors of the Arabian Desert, known as the [Bedouins]. These roving warriors’ loyalties were to his clan and tribe and had a fatalistic submission to their destiny.” The Bedouin’s mount, a camel, is often called “The Ship of the Desert.” It played a key role in early trade along the Silk Road, carrying goods as well as people

Margaret (Marge) Ponce Israel 

Born 1928, Havana, Cuba 

Died 1987, New York, New York 

Chickens, 1978 

Lithograph 

Gift of Gilbert E. Johnson, 2017.81 

Israel lived and worked in a three-story building in Manhattan, New York, that was once a horse stable. Her menagerie included a bantam rooster, guinea hens, doves, a rabbit, dogs, and a cat. These creatures were featured in a posthumous exhibition of her work called “A Domestic Bestiary” in 1997-1998. The artist’s colorful palette for her chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) can be connected to her Cuban origins

Angelo C. Garzio 

Born 1922, Mirabello Sannitico, Campobasso, Italy 

Died 2008, Manhattan, Kansas 

Pitchersecond half of 20th century 

Glazed stoneware 

Gift of the estate of Angelo Garzio, 2014.164

Garzio taught ceramics at Kansas State University beginning in 1957 and had a tree farm outside of Manhattan. Many of his ceramic works feature stylized animals. In addition to the rooster featured here, the artist often depicted fish and bulls.

Margaret Evelyn Whittemore 

Born 1897, Topeka, Kansas 

Died 1983, Sarasota, Florida 

Red-Winged Blackbirdmid-20th century 

Screenprint 

2015.160 

Whittemore created numerous images for the 1932 book Bird Notes, by H. L. Rhodes, and was a contributing artist to Audubon magazine. She and fellow Kansas artist Avis Chitwood traveled the state in 1941 to record flowers, trees, and birds. According to Rhodes’ book, the migratory red-winged blackbird arrives in Kansas in March. 

Ellen Lanyon 

Born 1926, Chicago, Illinois 

Died 2013, New York, New York 

Redwinged Blackbirds, 1997-2007 

Lithograph 

Gift of the artist, 2009.99

Lanyon’s print features a male and female pair of Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus). As is typical with birds, the male is far more colorful than the female. The female of the species shows just a hint of color on her wings. 

Dorothy Pulis Lathrop 

Born 1891, Albany, New York 

Died 1981, Falls Village, Connecticut 

Gold Fish, 1944-45 

Wood engraving 

Gift of the family of E. Herbert Deines, 1969.124a

Lathrop was a Caldecott-winning illustrator and printmaker whose specialty was animals. She was known to spend hours with her subjects. Her gold fish (Carassius auratus)drawn from a menagerie she and her sister kept, is shown in a well-decorated aquarium. Lathrop purchased the gold fish to be her model for the illustrations she created for a 1939 edition of The Little Mermaid. 

Roger Bezombes 

Born 1913, Paris, France 

Died 1994, Paris, France 

Poisson Verte, ca. 1972 

Screenprint with plastic addition on paper 

Gift of Gilbert E. Johnson, 2017.21 

Bezombes made the ragged fish in this print, built from a collage of colors, the subject of a bronze platter. The fish on the platter has a fake eyeball that mimics the googly eye of the creature in this print, who moves under shapes resembling sea foamThe artist’s fish were seen all over France during the 1970s on posters for businesses like the French Railway and Air France. 

Caroline Thorington 

Born 1943, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Pronghorns, from the series Natural History, 1984  

Lithograph 

Gift of Caroline Thorington, 2017.296

Thorington’s racing Pronghorns (Antilocapra americanaare often mistakenly referred to as the American or Prairie Antelope because of their resemblance to early Afro-Eurasian species. Lewis and Clark misidentified the animal during their early nineteenth-century expedition across North America. They nonetheless aptly visualized the power of the animals’ movement, as depicted in Thorington’s print: “Of all the animals we have seen the Antelope seems to possess the most wonderful fleetness. Shy and timorous they generally repose only on the ridges, which command a view of all the approaches of an enemy … When they first see the hunters they run with great velocity.”

Bamana People, Mali 

Chi Wara (Tyi Wara) headpiece, early 20th century 

Wood 

S3.2021 

Bamana mythology recounts how the heroic Chi Wara, a half-antelope and half-human figure taught agriculture to man. Pairs of male and female Chi Wara headpieces are worn by young farmers in a dance that takes place in the fields. Male farmers pierce the earth with their sowing sticks to make it fertile for the growing season, while a chorus of women follows, singing praises to the ideal farmer. 

This headpiece represents a male antelope, but it also has the body of an aardvark, whose habit of burrowing into the earth mimics a farmer sowing the fields. The zigzag path of the mane represents the sun’s rays and the horns symbolize a stalk of millet, a staple of the Bamana diet. The headpiece was originally attached to a basket-shaped hat which had long raffia fringe cascading around the wearer, symbolizing water flowing down to the earth.  

Animals have long been the subject of history, myth, and legend. Aurochs and Wooly Mammoths painted on the walls of the caves of Lascaux in France, hint at the hunting methods of prehistoric people. Animalistic deities populate ancient mythology, including the Egyptian god Horus with the head of a falcon and the Greek god Zeus who visits earth as a swan. In Native American legends, animals represent spiritual concepts, such as the turtle who is a symbol of mother earth.  Noah is said to have loaded his ark with creatures, “two by two,” before the great Biblical flood. 

This exhibition features such storied animals, as well as livestock, pets, and circus performers. Each image provides a chance to learn more about world cultures, literature, and science. 

As you view the animal pairs, we invite you to think about who created the image and why. What techniques and materials did the artist use?  How do the animals in each set compare to each other?   Does one animal speak to you in a special way?  

This exhibition complements The American Library Association Summer 2021 reading theme, “Tales and Tails.”   

—Kathrine Schlageck, Associate Curator of Education

Joseph Denovan Adam, Jr.

Born 1881, Glasgow, Scotland

Died 1935 Glasgow, Scotland

The Chimpanzee, 1919

Etching

Bequest of Raymond and Melba Budge, 1992.17

Adam, Jr. and his father were known for their paintings of animals, primarily the livestock on their farm in Scotland. Adam Jr. served in the British Army during World War I. He may have encountered the Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) during his war travels, but more than likely he saw this closest animal relative to humans in a zoo. The Scottish National Zoological Park (now the Edinburgh Zoo) opened in 1913.

Jacqueline Bishop

Born 1955, Long Beach, California

The Offering, 2017

Linocut

Gift of Joe and Barb Zanatta, 2018.371

Bishop has made a career of painting flora and fauna in an effort to connect people with the natural world. During an Amazon painting expedition, she encountered Spider Monkeys (Ateles fusciceps) caged in the zoo of a luxury hotel in the jungle region of Manaus, Brazil. Free Spider Monkeys from the surrounding jungle would visit the caged monkeys on the hotel premises, something that made the artist sad. Bishop has written: “Spider Monkeys are wonderful, energetic creatures and their tail is used as an arm or leg making them look like spiders with five legs. The contrast of seeing them in a cage AND in the natural world was sobering. It wasn’t right.”

Jamie (James Browning) Wyeth 

Born 1946, Wilmington, Delaware 

Moon and the Horse, 1978 

Lithograph 

Gift of Gilbert E. Johnson, 2017.71 

Wyeth follows in the footsteps of generations of artists in his family, including his father Andrew Wyeth and grandfather, illustrator N. C. WyethAnimals on the Wyeth farm, “The Mill,” in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, provide inspiration for Jamie’s workHis realistic portrait of a piebald horse (Equus ferus caballus)with vivid markings and delicately detailed hair and muscles, features a facial expression that seems almost human. Horse lovers will recognize the irregular overo black and white pattern on the animal.

Lester Wilton Raymer 

Born 1907, Alva, Oklahoma 

Died 1991, Lindsborg, Kansas 

Poster for Svensk Hyllningsfest, 1985 

Photomechanical offset print 

Gift of Carol and Jerry Exline, 1996.74

Raymer’s poster for Svensk Hyllningsfesta Swedish holiday, features a Dalecarlian (Dala Horse), which originated in the Dalarna province of Sweden. Originally used as a toy, the carved wooden horse has become a symbol of Sweden and the mascot of US towns founded by Swedes, including Raymer’s Lindsborg, KansasA red horse with brightly painted details is the most common Dala style. Visitors can buy hand-crafted Dala horse or view giant ones decorated by local artists along the main street in Lindsborg.

Charles Malcom Campbell 

Born 1905, Dayton, Ohio 

Died 1985, Phoenix, Arizona 

Standing Bear, from the portfolio Linoleum Cuts of Yellowstone National Park, ca. 1935 

Linocut 

S6d.2015

Campbell created a set of prints related to Yellowstone National Park, which featured animals and landmarks. Yellowstone is home to two species of bears: Grizzly Bears (Ursus arctos horribilis), shown here, and the smaller American Black Bear (Ursus americanus)There were 728 Grizzlies living in Yellowstone at last count.

Elmer (Elk) Red Starr (Sioux Nation) 

Born 1937, Wisconsin or South Dakota 

Died 2018, Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico 

Miniature jarmid-20th century 

Black and black earthenware 

Gift of Mel and Mary Cottom, 2012.220 

Red Starr married a Santa Clara Pueblo potter and learned how to make traditional pottery from his wife and mother-in-law, which he decorated with sgraffito (incised or etched) designsMany of Red Starr’s pots feature stylized or naturalistic bears and bear claws. Among the Pueblo tribes, bears are considered one of the six directional guardians, associated with the west and the color blue. The Zunis ascribe healing powers to the powerful bearas well as protection and good luck. 

Robert Stackhouse 

Born 1942, Bronxville, New York 

Ruby Lawrence, 1995 

Lithograph

E. Johnson Art Acquisition Fund, 2002.343

Stackhouse’s crimson snake could be one of several snakes that are permanently red or mature through red phase. These include the Corn Snake, the Mangrove Salt Marsh Snake, or the Red Belly Snake. While snakes arouse an ingrained fear in some of us, Stackhouse’s richly textured Ruby Lawrence is quiet and beautiful. 

Tony Fitzpatrick 

Born 1958, Chicago, Illinois  

Jerusalem, 2002 

Etching and aquatint 

2002.545 

With two tails and no heads, Fitzpatrick’s snake bears a whimsical pattern that might have been inspired by many snakes. It was created as a cover for singersongwriter Steve Earle’s album Jerusalem.

Shirley Smith 

Born 1929, Whitewater, Kansas 

Died 2013, New York, New York 

Pink Ears, 2007 

Inkjet print 

Gift of the artists, 2007.86

A graduate of Kansas State University, Smith embarked on a career as an actress in New York City before becoming a multi-media artist. During the 1980s she spent summers living in a vacation trailer near her hometown of Whitewater, thirty miles northeast of Wichita, creating art inspired by the rural scenes around her. Her multi-media installation I Love Pigs was featured at the Beach Museum of Art in 1999 and included painted portraits, videos, and sculptural wire drawings. Smith said, “Pigs especially have great personalities. Their almost human eyes seem to really look at you and make contact. … They seem to enjoy your company and reciprocate it back in such a personal, funny way. At least that’s how I like to read it.”

Harry Herman Wickey 

Born 1892, Stryker, Ohio 

Died 1968, Cornwall Landing, New York 

Sultry August Afternoon (Piglets and Sow)1935-36 

Lithograph 

Friends of the Beach Museum of Art Purchase, 2005.43 

Wickey grew up on an Ohio farm. His studies with Social Realist artists in New York influenced his focus on the American Scene and expressive use of line in rendering his subjects. Wickey created a series of pig lithographs while on the family farm in 1935-36. At the time, he was recovering from the effects of nitric acid fumes used for printmaking on his eyes. Art critic and historian Thomas Craven said of Wickey’s pig (Sus domesticus) series, “The artist has captured the very essence of swinishness: each of these porkers is Very Hog of Very Hog.”

Artist unknown 

Dragon, 19th century 

Bronze with rock crystal 

Bequest of the John H. Kohn Collection, 1992.1 

The legendary Chinese Dragon, also known as Lung, is often shown holding a pearl. In this case it bears spherical crystalsAs a symbol of Chinese royalty, the image of Lung could only be worn on the clothing of the Emperor and members of his family. Lung is a symbol of good luck and often shown as a composite creature with the antlers of a deer, head of a crocodilehawk’s clawsand other animal features. The Chinese dragon was the ruler of weather and water, and was considered a symbol of prosperity and good luck.

Senufo people of Côte d’Ivoire 

Kponyungo “Firespitter” helmet mask, late 19th/early 20th century 

Wood 

S1.2021

This mask is worn by dancers at funerals of important male and female elders of the powerful Poro or Pondo societies found in several African countries. The dancers beat on drums placed on the torso of the deceased to ward off evil and help the soul reach the spirit world. The mask symbolizes the chaos before the world was ordered. Animal parts represented in the design include spiked crocodile teeth, the snout of a hyena or crocodile, warthog tusks coming out of the mouth, and ram or buffalo horns flanking the nose. The two small animals on top of the head are a chameleon and a hornbill.  

Jyoti Bhatt

Born 1934, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India

The Lost Pundit (N.Y. 1966), 1978

Etching

1985.14

Bhatt is an artist and scholar of Indian folk art. His prints explore the language of Indian cultural symbols. The owl features heavily in Hindu literature and is often associated with wealth and wisdom based on its innovative and successful hunting skills. The Goddesses Lakshmi and Dhamunda have owls as their Vahana, a spirit used for communication. The owl in Bhatt’s image appears to be some kind of physical and spiritual guide as well, an idea suggested by the presence of arrows next to it and the symbols of Eastern and Western religions on its figure.

Maurice Bebb

Born 1891, Chicago, Illinois

Died 1986, Muskogee, Oklahoma

Screech Owl, 1977

Aquatint and softground etching on satin

Gift of the Maurice Bebb family, 2018.356

Bebb was a florist, and an avid botanist, birder, print collector, and self-trained printmaker. After retiring in 1951, he decided to focus on printmaking, finding support from fellow members of the Prairie Print Makers. A birdwatcher since fifth grade, Bebb created detailed ornithological images of birds in their environment, producing nearly one hundred such images. A text for this print reads, “The Eastern Screech Owl (Magascops aiso) can be found in two different color morphs—red and gray.” The red morph pictured here is one of three images of screech owls created by the artist.

John David Boyd 

Born 1939, London, Arkansas 

Died 2012, Wichita, Kansas 

Cat, 2012 

Inkjet print 

Gift of the Estate of John Boyd, 2013.192

Boyd depicted the simple pleasures of life in his art. This included whimsical versions of family pets, including the cat (Felis catus), inspired by Ozark folk art and 1960s California counter-culture comics from his childhood and teen years.

Jacques Hnizdovsky 

Born 1915Pylypche, Ternopol, Austria-Hungary (territory of Ukraine) 

Died 1985, Bronxville, New York 

Sleeping Catpublished 1970 

Associated American Artists 

Woodcut 

Bequest of Raymond and Melba Budge, 1992.167 

When Hnizdovsky immigrated to the United States in 1949, he was penniless. Since he could not pay models, he drew his inspiration from nature and became a regular at the Bronx Zoo. Sleeping Cat is a good example of his borderless designs featuring distinctive patterns from nature.

Caroline Thorington 

Born 1943, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Shanti, 2004 

Lithograph 

Gift of Caroline Thorington, 2017.298

Shanti means peace or calm and is a word used in Sanskrit, Hindi, and Marathi languages. Thorington’s Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), identified by its small ears, is native to India. The print is part of the series Natural History inspired by her husband’s work as a curator in the mammal division of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Shanti lived in the nearby National Zoo.

John Steuart Curry 

Born 1897, Dunavant, Kansas 

Died 1946, Madison, Wisconsin 

Elephants at the Circus, 1932 

Photomechanical reproduction 

Bequest of Kathleen G. Curry, 2002.1071

Curry spent April of 1932 traveling with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. His sketchbooks are full of drawings of elephants, clowns, and the trapeze artists, the Flying Cardonas. The massive elephants lined up for a meal of hay may have reminded Curry of the winter-eating habits of the cattle raised on his family’s farm in Kansas. Ringling Bros. retired its elephants in 2016 in response to the Humane Society’s campaign against cruelty to the animals.

Artist unknown 

Guardian lions, 20th century 

Ivory with wood base 

Gift of Ruth Miller, 1995.4a1995.4b 

Guardian lions date from the Han Dynasty (206 BCE8 CE) in China, when imposing stone lions guarded imperial gates. They are always presented as a female/male pair, reflecting the duality found in nature. The male is shown with a paw on a ball (xiu qiu, or “flower of life”) and the female with a paw on a lion cub. The male is believed to protect the house or palace and the female protects those dwelling inside. The animal sculptures are often called Lion Dogs, or Fu and Foo Dogs.

William Wind McKim 

Born 1916, Independence, Missouri 

Died 1995, Kansas City, Missouri 

Puma, ca. 1978 

Lithograph 

Gift of John, Susan and Johnny Watt in memory of Sarah Katherine Watt, 2006.307 

McKim is known for his highly naturalistic depictions of birds and mammals. He was attracted by animals at a young age, observing them as his family moved from Utah to Missouri. Pumas (Puma concolor) are large, secretive cats. They are commonly known as cougars or mountain lions and can be found in the western half of the United States. While not commonly seen today, they once roamed Kansas in significant numbers.

Thomas Hart Benton 

Born 1889, Neosho, Missouri 

Died 1975, Kansas City, Kansas 

White Calf, 1945 

Associated American Artists 

Lithograph 

Bequest of Raymond and Melba Budge, 1992.61b 

Benton was part of the 1930s Regionalist movement and is well known for his depictions of American life, including farm workBenton wrote about this image: “Henry Look of Chilmark, Martha’s Vineyard milking his cow. Henry had a good deal selling his milk until some prying summer persons found him sharing it in his snot filled handkerchief. Trade with Henry dropped off after that.” 

Janet Elizabeth Turner 

Born 1914, Kansas City, Missouri 

Died 1988, Chico, California 

Bulldogging Stock, 1949 

Linoleum cut 

Gift of Jim and Virginia Moffett, 2000.180 

Turner studied painting with Benton at the Kansas City Art Institute during World War II and later also became a professor of art. Her work draws from her time living in rural settings in Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Texas, and CaliforniaThe artist created Bulldogging Stock while living in Texas. The image’s multi-colored bulls (Bos taurus) may be assembled for branding or a rodeo event such as bulldogging, in which cowboys rope and wrestle cattle to the ground. 

Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, Salish/Ksanka (Kootenai)

Born 1940, Flathead Reservation, Montana 

Coyote Turned the Giants into Boulders, 2014 

Published by Zanatta Editions, printed by Neal Ambrose-Smith 

Linoleum cut 

KSU, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, gift of Joe and Barb Zanatta2018.372 

Quick-to-See Smith and her son Ambrose-Smith collaborated on this print of a coyote encountering and conquering the big city. Animals are a common feature of Native American lore. Smith has written: “Coyote is part of our Salish creation story, s/he helped Amotken ‘turn on the lights’ at the beginning of the world. Coyote is also every human, foolish, bright, conniving, beneficent, helpful, greedy and generous. Coyote is a trickster and is always turning everything around, upside down. 

Peter (Fritz) Fritts Felten, Jr. 

Born 1933, Hays, Kansas 

Coyote, 1969 

Woodcut 

Gift of Nancy S. Vogel, PhD, in memory of John H. and Irene Schaake Vogel and Gerald M. Vogel, 2015.123

Felton is known for his stone sculptures of Bisona giant one welcomes visitors to Hayes, Kansas. His version of the Coyote (Canis latrans) seems to capture some of the human character traits associated with the animal. Coyotes have been referred to as wily or crafty and Felton’s seems to be kin to the cartoon character Wile E. Coyote, perhaps hatching a plan against his nemesis, the Roadrunner.