JAMESTOWN - On Friday, Aug. 31 from 5 to 8 p.m., the Roger Tory Peterson Institute invites the public to a reception to open a new, major retrospective exhibition celebrating the life work of Arthur Singer, one of the great wildlife artists and illustrators of the 20th century. At the reception the community also will have an opportunity to meet and welcome Dr. Anton (Twan) Leenders, the institute's new president and executive director.
"A Guide to Nature: The Art of Arthur Singer, with Alan Singer," will be on display at the Institute from Aug. 31 through Dec. 2. The opening reception is free and open to the public; donations are appreciated.
Arthur Singer (1917-1990) was an internationally recognized artist whose work became a crucial factor in a wave of interest in nature and conservation. Like that of Roger Tory Peterson, Arthur's art helped educate a public eager to see, understand, and protect the environment.
An illustration of a bluebird by Arthur Singer.
Arthur"s paintings have been featured in gallery and museum shows, prints, books, collectibles, and U.S. Postage stamps. Later in his career he enlisted his son, Alan, to help him revise books and create botanical backgrounds for his compositions in the tradition of John James Audubon and his sons.
From the time of his youth in New York City, Arthur loved to portray nature, often sketching wildlife at the Bronx Zoo. He also loved jazz; Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway commissioned some of his earliest artwork. Arthur studied Carl Rungius and the murals of Francis Lee Jacques at the American Museum of Natural History and was entranced by the illustrations of Louis Agassiz Fuertes and Audubon as his own career as an illustrator and designer took off.
After serving in the army during World War II, Arthur was married and had two sons, Paul and Alan. In the early 1950s Arthur broke into publishing with illustrations for Sports Illustrated and World Book Encyclopedia. He then went on to create the artwork for Birds of the World, Birds of North America, Birds of Europe, and many other publications.
In the early 1980s the U.S. Postal Service asked Arthur to create a series of state bird and flower stamps; 50 commemorative stamps were issued with birds by Arthur and flowers by his son Alan.
"A Guide to Nature" features some 50 works that include a range of book illustrations and designs along with full-scale paintings that frame the arc of Arthur Singer's spectacular career. The exhibition also includes a selection of field guide illustrations from the institute's renowned collection of Peterson originals, providing never-before-seen opportunities to compare and contrast Arthur's original illustrations with those of his friend, colleague and competitor Roger Tory Peterson. For anyone interested in nature-inspired art and illustration, environmental history, or art history and appreciation, this is a unique exhibition not to be missed.
At the Aug. 31 opening reception, guests can tour the exhibition while enjoying refreshments, and meet Alan Singer, Twan Leenders, RTPI staff and volunteers, all in the Peterson Institute's beautiful surroundings. At 6 p.m. Alan will present a program providing a personal glimpse into the life and work of his father.
The Peterson Institute also is featuring an incredible display of fossils including a Columbian Mammoth excavated in Randolph, and a giant Ice Age bear as well as selections from the life work of Roger Tory Peterson. The Institute is located at 311 Curtis St. in Jamestown and is open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 665-2473 or visit www.rtpi.org.