Louis Agassiz Fuertes / by Jeannine Cook

Many years ago, when we first moved to coastal Georgia, I had the delight of seeing an exhibition at Savannah's Telfair Museum of Art about Louis Agassiz Fuertes. Not being born in this country, I am always catching up on matters American, and this wonderful naturalist-artist was one such discovery.

I was reminded of his paintings and quick, skillful pencil drawings when I read of an exhibition which has just opened at the New York State Museum . Born in 1874, Louis Agassiz Fuertes was soon recognised as a very skillful artist, and his short life (he was killed in a car accident in 1927) was devoted to recording birds through North America. Cornell University, his alma mater, has a wonderful collection of his work.

This leading bird artist of his day was a dedicated artist who tramped through woods and vales to record birds in the wild, as well as using specimens back in the studio for his detailed paintings. He knew how to capture the essential character of each bird. His knowledge of habitat for each bird species was also superb. His work made him one of the important pioneers, following in Audubon's footsteps, for environmental awareness. We all owe him a huge debt of gratitude as his work made people aware of the need to protect birds and their habitat.

Look out for Louis Agassiz Fuertes' paintings and drawings - they are a huge delight.