The Society of Animal Artists is pleased to have Dr. David J. Wagner as the Society's Curator and Tour Director for the "Art & the Animal" Exhibition. Dr. Wagner has served the Society since 1988.

American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner

Bookshelves abound with accounts of wildlife artists and their artistry, but no book is truly comparable to American Wildlife Art. In American Wildlife Art, scholar and curator David J. Wagner tells the story of this popular genre's history, shaped by four centuries of cultural events and aesthetic and ideological trends, from its beginnings in colonial times to the monumental works of the present day. In his insightful accounts of the artists, events, and trends at the heart of this uniquely American art form, Wagner explains how the aesthetic idioms and imagery of American wildlife art have evolved, how its ecological ideologies have changed with changing circumstances and ideas about animals and their habitats, and how artists and entrepreneurs developed and influenced the market for wildlife art.

Wagner's history begins with the works of John White and Mark Catesby, artists who documented the flora and fauna of the New World and presented Europeans with a view of both the economic potential and the natural wonders of the then sparsely settled continent. After the American Revolution, as the new nation grew, artists such as Alexander Wilson and especially John James Audubon caused the course of American wildlife art history to turn and advance, setting the stage for Arthur Tait's collaboration with Currier & Ives, which brought wildlife art to the masses, and the work of Edward Kemeys, whose impressionistic sculpture captured the essence of disappearing wildlife like the wolf and buffalo at the same time that prominent Americans like John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt promoted wilderness preservation and the ethics of sportsmanship. As Wagner's narrative moves to the twentieth century and beyond, it embraces in revealing detail the lives of artists Louis Agassiz Fuertes and Carl Rungius, painters who were among the most influential wildlife artists of their time. Wagner's account concludes with portraits of recent and contemporary wildlife artists such as Robert Bateman, Bob Kuhn, Roger Tory Peterson, Stanley Meltzoff, and Kent Ullberg-artists whose work at once departs from and embodies the legacies, traditions, and innovations that informed and preceded it.

Through a rich array of illustrations and its incisive text, American Wildlife Art will appeal to collectors, conservationists, and artists-to everyone who already enjoys wildlife art or who is learning about it for the first time. Wagner's authoritative and even-handed prose brings this compelling art form to life, reminding us of the treasures found on America's wild lands.

American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner
Published by Marquand Books
Hardcover with jacket
424 pages
280 color and 30 black-and-white illustrations

David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Curator/Tour Director
(414) 221-6878;
FACEBOOK: David J. Wagner

AMERICAN WILDLIFE ART featured at the 2011 National Wildlife Federation Washington, D.C. Gala honoring Robert Redford as Conservationist of The Year and First Lady Michelle Obama for the Special 75th Anniversary Conservation Award

AMERICAN WILDLIFE ART was distributed as a kind of educational party favor at the 75th Anniversary Gala of the National Wildlife Federation on April 13, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency Washington, at which The National Wildlife Federation honored Robert Redford as its Conservationist of the Year, along with seven other National Conservation Achievement Award recipients including First Lady Michelle Obama for the Special 75th Anniversary Conservation Award, and Senator Richard G. Lugar (R-Indiana), among others. Previous honorees have included former Vice President Al Gore, author Thomas Friedman, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former President Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Ted Turner, the Anheuser-Busch Companies, and other distinguished recipients. Distribution of AMERICAN WILDLIFE at the National Wildlife Federation Gala was made possible by the Susan Kathleen Black Foundation, James E. Parkman, Chairman, who personally sponsored design and printing of the book. Initial research and writing of American Wildlife Art was sponsored through a lead grant to Cornell University Press for a post-doctoral fellowship for David Wagner from Robert S. and Grayce B. Kerr Foundation, with additional support from the Newport Wilderness Society from the Peninsula Arts Association and The Wisconsin Arts Board.

"We recently had the pleasure of hosting a lecture by Dr. Wagner at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia. Loosely based on the outline of this book, Dr. Wagner's talk was an authoritative overview of this expansive topic. It is rare to have the opportunity to hear from someone who has literally written "the book" on a topic as broad as this. I highly recommend the inclusion of this book in any art library. "

Seth Hopkins, Executive Director
Booth Museum, Cartersville, GA February 25, 2011

David J. Wagner, L.L.C. Traveling Museum Exhibitions (4 MB)
David J. Wagner, L.L.C. Exhibitions New for 2011 (274 KB)
Art and the Animal Traveling Exhibition Brochure (606 KB)
AMERICA'S PARKS Through the Beauty of Art (91 KB)
The Sea of Cortez Traveling Museum Exhibition (57 KB)
Andrew Denman: The Modern Wild
Andrew Denman: The Modern Wild Brochure PDF

- AMERICA'S PARKS Through The Beauty of Art Jurors will be: M. Stephen Doherty, Editor, PleinAirâ„¢ Magazine; Susan T. Fisher, American Society of Botanical Artists Past President and Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Art Institute Director; and Todd Wilkinson, Managing Editor, Wildlife Art Journal.
- Facebook: AMERICA'S PARKS Through the Beauty of Art
- "Wild about animals Historian tracks artists' works and influences" By Jim Higgins of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- "ART: Images of endangered species extend artistic tradition" By Deborah K. Dietsch published in the Washington Times, LLC.
- The press release for American Wildlife Art (PDF 85 KB)
- An article on
- An article on American Wildlife Art in Antique Trader Magazine
- An article on American Wildlife Art in Western & Wildlife Art Magazine
- An article on American Wildlife Art in Wildlife Art Journal
- About American Wildlife Art (en français)
- Laurence Saunois, Artiste animalier, about American Wildlife Art (en français)
- Read David J. Wagner Ph.D. Biography (2 MB)
- Artist Collector Model Relationship (98 KB)

- A slide show of illustrations in the book narrated by Jim Higgins

- An interview of Dr. Wagner by Larry Meiller of Wisconsin Public Radio. (8/28/2008 @39 minutes) (Real Player required: - free download)
- Art historian David Wagner joins sculptor Kent Ullberg and painter Robert Bateman in a discussion led by Christie Koriakin of Jackson Hole Community Radio (9/14/2010)
(29:02 minutes edited for airing) or (49:38 minutes full version)

Here is what some SAA members are saying about AMERICAN WILDLIFE ART:

"I knew it [American Wildlife Art] would be good but this is beyond my expectations! It is incredibly well researched and very informative. This volume will stand as the definitive work on the subject for years to come ... perhaps forever. . . David Wagner is the number one intellectual in wildlife art certainly in America, maybe in the world."
Robert Bateman, Painter

"Wildlife art could not have a more eloquent or knowledgeable spokesperson than David Wagner, and I'm sure that all artists working with wildlife today feel the same gratitude that I do for his dedication of so much of his life and talent to our field."
Kent Ullberg, Sculptor

"David J. Wagner, PhD is the preeminent academic authority on the subject of Wildlife Art in America. Early in his career, he served as director of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, where he established Birds In Art as the world's most prestigious annual exhibition of animal art. He also served as executive director of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and was a museum-studies adjunct faculty member at the Graduate School of New York University, Colorado College, and University of Wisconsin Extension. Today he combines working as a freelance consultant with duties as Tour Director for the Society of Animal Artists, and curator of numerous traveling shows, including current One-man Shows for Robert Bateman, Kent Ullberg and yours truly. (He also wrote the introduction for my book: Dave's PhD dissertation was on the history of wildlife art in America, and he continues to lecture widely on the subject. He's been working on his Magnum Opus for several years, and the project is finally complete. American Wildlife Art will be released early in the new year by Marquand Books. At 424 pages, with over 300 illustrations, it promises to be the most complete history of representative animal art in North America to date."
Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen

"Avec ce livre, vous embarquez sur un navire qui vous conduira à la découverte du nouveau monde et de son histoire à travers l'évolution d'un art ancestral et séculaire: l'art animalier. Vous marcherez sur les traces des premiers découvreurs et des premiers artistes naturalistes qui avec une recherche et une patience infinies retranscrivaient au travers de leur art leurs émotions et leurs ressentis vis-à-vis de nouvelles espèces animales et botaniques jusqu'alors complètement inconnues. Au 18 et 19ème siècle, l'histoire des artistes animaliers (Alexander Wilson ou encore John James Audubon) se conjugue avec celle des Etats-Unis. D'énormes changements rythment la vie des hommes de cette Nation naissante. John James Audubon, part son travail absolument remarquable de finesse et de réalisme, est considéré comme un des premiers ornithologues du Nouveau Monde. Il peint des centaines de planches où souvent les oiseaux sont représentés dans leur milieu naturel. Cette manière de faire contraste avec celle de ses contemporains. Avec lui, une nouvelle page de l'histoire de l'art animalier américain fait son apparition. Au 19ème siècle, l'art animalier dépeint le plus fréquemment des scènes de chasse. Le Continent est vaste, les zones sauvages où le gibier prolifère nombreuses. Les scènes de chasse qui illustrent ce livre sont d'un réalisme fascinant. Arthur F. Tait fut un des artistes qui contribua à la démocratisation de l'art animalier. Avec la révolution industrielle, l'art animalier allait prendre un nouveau tournant. A la fin du 19ème siècle, Edward Kemeys, sculpteur de grand talent, montre pour la première fois des animaux dans un style différent ; la sculpture doit avant tout capturer l'esprit même de l'animal pour sublimer l'impression de mouvement ou appuyer une attitude. Beaucoup d'autres artistes s'engouffreront dans cette voie. Au 20ème siècle, les artistes animaliers continueront à faire évoluer le travail artistique dans ce sens. Malgré la grande dépression, les problèmes économiques, ou les guerres, nombreux seront les artistes de grand talent qui feront de leur passion et de leur art une profession. Certains iront encore plus loin. Robert Bateman, figure emblématique de l'art animalier, s'engagera dans la préservation des espaces sauvages, des espèces en danger et sera, avec le photo réalisme, un des pionniers dans la manière de peindre et d'appréhender cet art,. Avec lui, le voyage se termine et nous ramène au port car c'est lui qui justement a écrit l'introduction de ce merveilleux livre. Découvertes, histoires, illustrations. David J. Wagner maîtrise avec brio son sujet. Ce livre est un véritable régal pour les yeux et l'esprit et m'a apporté de la fierté à d'exercer ce métier d'artiste animalier hyperréaliste."
Laurence Saunois

Excerpt from Corporate Biography

David J. Wagner is founder, President and Chief Curator of a limited liability corporation located in Milwaukee, WI, and established for the principle purpose of organizing and marketing wildlife and other natural history art exhibitions and educational programs to museums nationwide. Dr. Wagner was recognized as the foremost wildlife art scholar in 2000 by Robert Bateman at A World Wildlife Art Symposium held in conjunction the 40th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists at the Björklunden Campus of Lawrence University in Door County, WI. David arranged for the Society's 50th Anniversary Annual Exhibition to premiere at the San Diego Natural History Museum in September, 2010.

For the first 20 years of his career, David was a museum director. He began his first job as director of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art museum at the age of 24. Among his many accomplishments there, were to literally put the museum on the map. From 1977 to 1987, he toured Birds in Art, an exhibition he named, to 20 venues, the first of which was The Smithsonian's Museum of American Art. He then toured it throughout the United States and abroad including to the Beijing Museum of Natural History in China and The British Museum of Natural History in London. In 1988, the Society of Animal Artists, recruited David to get more exposure for its artists and exhibitions. David subsequently recommended that the SAA name its Annual Exhibition, a suggestion the SAA Board of Directors adopted by naming it, Art and the Animal. Before David joined with the SAA, it had had 29 exhibitions over 29 years. Since the SAA recruited him, David has been responsible for securing 16 of 21 annual exhibition hosts, 74 tour stops, 5 annual outdoor sculpture exhibitions, and 3 small works exhibitions. That's a total of over 100 exhibition opportunities in 20 years. About the same time that he joined forces with the SAA, David proposed and directed the first five tours of the Arts for the Parks exhibition for the National Park Academy for the Arts. David joined the Susan K. Black Foundation family in 2004. In that year, he gave a keynote address at its Annual Workshop in Dubois, WY, where he proposed BLOSSOM ~ ART OF FLOWERS, which the foundation adopted and sponsored, and which David toured from 2007 to 2009 to 9 venues nationwide. In September, the foundation honored David as the Recipient of its 2010 SKBF Black-Parkman Award for Art Industry Leadership.

David wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on American wildlife art at the University of Minnesota while he was Scholar-in-Residence at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, and subsequently expanded it into a 1,000-page manuscript entitled The Story of American Wildlife Art for Cornell University Press. The Robert S. and Grayce B. Kerr Foundation funded a post-doctoral fellowship for its research and writing. Publication of the book was subsequently assigned to Marquand Books in Seattle, which released the book, with additional support from James E. Parkman, under the title of AMERICAN WILDLIFE ART early in 2008.

His book, AMERICAN WILDLIFE ART, has become a standard reference book on the subject. It may be ordered on-line at: Autographed and personalized copies are available from Boswell Book Company, (414) 332-1181 or

American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner
American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner
American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner
American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner
American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner
American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner
American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner
American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner
American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner
American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner
American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner
American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner
American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner
American Wildlife Art by David J. Wagner

All images on this website are © The Society of Animal Artists and the respective Artists.
Photos on the website courtesy of Jay Johnson, Bob Mason, San Diego Natural History Museum, Wes Siegrist, David J. Wagner, and Jason Yount. Artwork images are courtesy of the respective artists.