These magnificent lithographs depicting the birds of Mt. Desert Island, Maine, are foremost works by a highly important 20th-century artist.
Artist and collector, Carroll Sargent Tyson was born in Philadelphia in 1878. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and at the Royal Academy of Munich, Germany. Tyson received many awards for his talents, among them the Sesnan Gold medal at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, a Bronze medal at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, the Carnegie Prize for the Most Meritorious painting by an American at the 118th Exhibition of the National Academy of Design, the Chevalier Cross of the Legion of Honor from the French Government and the Philadelphia Art Club's Gold Medal. Tyson exhibited regularly at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1905-1950, and major exhibitions of Tyson's work were held at the Durand-Ruel Gallery, Waldenstein Gallery, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and The Corcoran Gallery in Washington.
Northeast Harbor, a small community in Mt. Desert Island, Maine, was Tyson's passion. From late April or early May he was there until November, hunting, fishing and, as is evident, painting. His greatest artistic inspiration arose from his other passion, ornithology. He wrote a booklet on birds with his nephew and was extremely knowledgeable about them, particularly those of "his" island, both migratory and native. Tyson began painting birds in watercolors around the year 1918, from nature as well as from stuffed specimens. He produced about 200 of these great works over the years and in 1934-1935, a selection of twenty of them were printed in a large folio, limited to an edition of 250, after which those plates were destroyed. The present selection of lithographs from that rare folio are among Tyson's most remarkable works: vividly lifelike, flawlessly detailed and often dramatically composed. The printing in nine-color plates was done by Otto Hoesch of Milan, Italy, and Tyson made a brief trip to supervise the work. The prints that resulted from this collaboration are extraordinary works of very high quality. These are important works by perhaps the finest artist to have worked in Philadelphia in the 20th century, and most certainly the finest ornithological artist to depict the birds of Mount Desert Island, Maine.