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The Cotton-Tail Rabbit among Dry Grasses and Leaves

Gerald H. Thayer, Emma Beach Thayer

American Art

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.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor with touches of translucent watercolor and graphite on 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.)"
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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CAPTION Gerald H. Thayer (American, 1883-1935). The Cotton-Tail Rabbit among Dry Grasses and Leaves, 1904. Opaque watercolor with touches of translucent watercolor and graphite on 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 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 20.645_SL3.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 20.645_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Illustration for "Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom" (1909)
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