Posted by: janamatusz | March 25, 2020

MARCH of the Animals Stopped in Its Tracks

In the scheme of things, I know, it is a very small thing. Both exhibitions of the animal portraits were casualties of the corona virus.

The GOOD news is that the exhibition at the Harvard Museum of Natural History was fully installed before everything shut down. Marta and I had a chance to visit it in the last few hours before all the museums closed their doors. So even though you can’t visit the exhibition in person now, I can share a little bit of what’s there since I took some iPhone photos.

Come see!

This is the wall you see first as you enter. The exhibition space is between the dinosaurs and the rooms of specimens:


And this wall faces that first one:


Remember, these are reproductions of my paintings, but they are really lovely reproductions — accurate color, beautiful satin finish, and larger than the real paintings. I am SO pleased with the presentation — the exhibit designers did a wonderful job not only with the visual aspects (color choices, arrangement, choice of paintings, hanging height, lighting, typeface, etc.), but also with the beautifully written text on the wall:


There are eleven portraits in this exhibition, chosen from the 26 image files I provided. Each has a label which identifies the animal and where in the museum you can find it. In the short time I spent earlier in the exhibit, I was delighted to see children gathering by the lion cub, debating whether it was Simba!!! or Nala!!!

Marta enjoyed seeing the animals in their new setting, after seeing the originals in our living room for weeks last fall.


Here are all eleven of the paintings. Remember, these are reproductions, not the actual paintings, and there are some areas of glare and some shadows since these iPhone photos were taken right in the exhibit. So imagine you are there:









blog09lion cub



So do you have a favorite?

Do they “speak” to you too? What do they seem to be saying?

I’ve been asked if I have a favorite. Honestly, I love them all — they’re my friends and I feel close to them from drawing them at the museum for so many years. I feel especially glad that the coelacanth turned out, since I’m amazed at the creature’s very existence. It’s a fairly ugly thing after being in preservative for 54 years, but knowing that it was bright blue with white stars(!) when it was pulled from the water, I felt justified in taking some liberties to hint at its real-life beauty.


But they all speak to me. I wanted to honor and thank all of them. I love the poignancy of the lion cub, the cheerfulness of the warthog, the nobility of the wolf, the friendliness of the moonrat, the sternness of the kestrel, and the stunned look of the colobus.


When the Harvard Museum of Natural History opens again, you’ll be able to see the exhibit for yourself, and maybe even take the Caption Challenge, adding your suggestions and participating in the social media activities.

The other exhibition, the one of the original paintings at the Providence Art Club, has been postponed, but hopefully will be rescheduled for September/October 2020. Then you’ll be able to see the actual paintings in their ornate frames. There will be some other new faces there, I’m sure.

Until then, we all manage the best we can.

Please stay safe and well, everyone. Thanks for visiting this blog. If this is your first time visiting, feel free to go back in time to see other projects and art trips. You can scroll and click to go all the way back to my Bermuda residency in 2011. I especially recommend my blog entries from Cesky Krumlov in 2012
( with the fun photos there,
and my month of painting in Provincetown, MA
Mostly, of course, you’ll find lots and lots of photos and artwork from Acadia National Park, my “Maine” inspiration.

Until next time…


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