Rex Brasher was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1869. His father, an avid naturalist and bird taxidermist, was once snubbed by Audubon, an event that generated an early compulsion by the young Brasher to paint all the birds of North America from life - better than Audubon. Starting at 16, he began to travel up and down the east coast, and later throughout the rest of the country, in order to study birds in their natural surroundings. He supported his trips by odd laboring jobs, working as a photoengraver, and betting on horses (for which he had a talent). In 1907, he met and became a friend of the famous bird painter Louis Agassiz Fuertes, from whom he learned several painting techniques that guided his mature works. Settling into his farm in Kent, Connecticut, he eventually painted 1200 species and subspecies of birds, more than twice the number (489) depicted by Audubon. Lacking the funds to print all of his paintings in color, he had the Meriden Gravure Company make black and white reproductions in 1940, which he numbered and laboriously hand-colored using stencils and an airbrush. Brasher died in 1960, at his home in Kent, at the age of 91. His monumental achievement has earned him a place among noted American wildlife illustrators. It is unlikely that anyone will ever again attempt to repeat such a comprehensive series of paintings. This hand- colored photogravure of masked ducks, numbered "168" and pencil-signed "Rex Brasher", is from the Meriden series. It is both framed (16" x 20") and matted. (Biographical comments excerpted from Rex Brasher, Connecticut's 20th Century Audubon.)



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