|American Paintings — Athos Menaboni - Peregrin Falcon|
|Athos Menaboni - Peregrin Falcon
Medium: Oil on board
Dimensions: Board size: 32” x 24”; Frame size: 38” x 29 1/4”
Signed l.r.: Athos Menaboni
Athos Menaboni is widely regarded as one of the world's finest illustrators and painters of bird life and hailed by wildlife lovers, art collectors, and ornithologists alike as the twentieth-century Audubon. A significant figure in Atlanta art, Athos Menaboni built a monumental reputation, achieving nationwide fame in the 1940s and 1950s. Like Audubon, Menaboni's attentiveness to nature is both dramatic and enchanting, but unlike his distinguished predecessor, he sketched from live specimens, thereby surpassing Audubon in endowing his subjects with vitality.
Born in Italy, Menaboni worked his way to the United States in 1920 as a crew member on a freighter. He lived in Virginia, New York and Florida until 1928, when he met and married Sara Arnold, a native of Rome, Georgia. The two eventually settled in Atlanta, on a five-acre woodland sanctuary complete with extensive aviaries.
Menaboni began his career by painting murals; he later combined his painting skills with his hobby, the study of birds, becoming an ornithological illustrator. Throughout his flourishing career, his technical innovations evolved and developed. Menaboni devoted himself to experimentation, exploring a wide range of mediums: painting on canvas, silk, glass, Masonite, wood panels, gesso-covered board, and mirrors. He developed the "undercoat method," a technique of painting in thin, delicate layers of oil that gives the transparency of watercolor, but allows more depth and detail than watercolor produces. Reflected in many of his works is his deep love of the sea, and his landscapes, botanicals, and mosaics are as impressive as his birds, but it is for his birds that he is world-renowned.
His work brought him international fame and numerous awards, appealing to wildlife lovers, naturalists, art collectors and ornithologists alike. During his career, which spanned over sixty years, he painted over 150 species of American birds in their native surroundings. His delightful compositions, rendered with a keen eye for subtle detail, capture the wondrous colors and details of nature. Menaboni's style is distinctive for its intricate and meticulous analysis. As the artist himself said, "You cannot improve on nature, you must capture it -- and transfer it to canvas."
Menaboni's art is widespread, appearing in major museums and private collections throughout the world, and his artistic talent has been an inspiration to many. In the past few years, his official recognition has grown exponentially with the mounting of numerous retrospectives, including one at the Marietta/ Cobb Museum of Art (1999) and the Albany Museum of Art (2001). This is a rare and masterful original work by this noted artist.