Decoy exhibition outside Boston displays prized works by Yankee craftsmen

7/24/2013 | 0

Red-breasted Merganser Drake by A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952). Photo by David Allen courtesy of Copley Fine Art

Red-breasted Merganser Drake by A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952). Photo by David Allen courtesy of Copley Fine Art

Waterfowl decoys are labors of love and much more. The best are products of long hours of intense species study as well as careful design and paint handling. That collectors prize decoys carved by Massachusetts artisans above others was demonstrated in September 2007, when a pintail drake and a Canada Goose by A. Elmer Crowell, of East Harwich, on Cape Cod, sold for a $1.13 million apiece, a record.

Exhibitions of works by Crowell, Lothrop Holmes, Joseph Lincoln, the Folger Family, and other famed Yankee craftsmen are events to be savored — by birdwatchers as well as collectors. That’s why we’re excited about this show, which will feature many Massachusetts masterpieces, including the Red-breasted Merganser by Crowell above.

And there’s another reason to visit: The Coot Shooter, a moody oil by American Impressionist Frank W. Benson, will be shown for perhaps the first time since it was painted a century ago.

At the Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon (formerly the Mass Audubon Visual Arts Center), until September 15, 2013.

Massachusetts Masterpieces: The Decoy as Art
Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon
963 Washington Street
Canton, Massachusetts 02021
(781) 821-8853

A version of this article appeared in the August 2013 issue of BirdWatching magazine.