The Cotton-Tail Rabbit among Dry Grasses and Leaves
The artist-naturalist Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849–1921) used assistants, including his wife, Emma, and his son Gerald, to help illustrate his book on animal camouflage, Concealing-Coloration in the Animal Kingdom (1909). This meticulously rendered watercolor demonstrates “countershading,” by which an animal such as the cottontail rabbit seems to disappear against the background of its natural habitat. Although many of Thayer’s theories sparked controversy within the scientific community, some were applied to military camouflage in World War II.
- Artists: Gerald H. Thayer, American, 1883-1935; Emma Beach Thayer, 1850-1924
- Medium: Opaque watercolor over graphite on cream, smooth textured paper-surfaced pulpboard
- Dates: 1904
- Dimensions: 18 3/4 x 19 1/2 in. (47.6 x 49.5 cm) Frame: 24 1/4 x 24 1/8 x 1 3/4 in. (61.6 x 61.3 x 4.4 cm) (show scale)
- Signature: Signed and dated upper right: "Gerald H. Thayer / 1904 / (Background / 1904 partly by E.B.T.)"
- Collections:American Art
- Museum Location: This item is not on view
- Accession Number: 20.645
- Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: Gerald H. Thayer (American, 1883-1935). The Cotton-Tail Rabbit among Dry Grasses and Leaves, 1904. Opaque watercolor over graphite on cream, smooth textured paper-surfaced pulpboard, 18 3/4 x 19 1/2 in. (47.6 x 49.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney, 20.645
- Catalogue Description: Illustration for "Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom" (1909)
- Record Completeness: Best (87%)