I went down to look at the exhibits in the American Museum yesterday. I focused on the Warburg Hall (1951) and the North American Hall of Forests (1959) to see some of the work of the really great foreground artists from the 1950’s, guys like Tomy Newberry, Fred Scherer, George Petersen, and Fred Jalayer. Newberry is still alive and I talked with him on the phone last week. I mentioned that I was really impressed by the work I saw in the Warburg Hall, mentioning specifically the lady sliper flowers. This summer, I walked through the hall with a retired educator, Bill Schiller, who pointed out that the flowers were so accurate, that he could teach schoolkids about how pollen gets stuck to the back of bees when they crawl into the flower. He can show the flower structure that does this from the model.
Newberry said that they were quite dedicated to the work. They pushed each other to do good work, even to try to outdo one another. Here are some maple leaves from the Olympic Forest diorama. These are exactly what I am trying to get with my quest for translucency in leaf fabrication. I hope they are not made from paper, because I think it is only a matter of time before they will start to curl.:
I also saw some work that was of very high quality, but made with paper and starting to curl with age. The Warburg Hall and the NA Hall of Forests are long overdo for a cleaning and renovation. Unfortunately, they will probably be torn out at some point in the near future.