A Lost Treasure Found!
In a scenario reminiscent of the Antiques Roadshow, a staff member at the National Wildlife Federation has discovered an original watercolor of ivory-billed woodpeckers by the very artist universally acknowledged as the last person to see the now presumed extinct bird. The large format, pristine image is going up for auction next month and already has an opening bid of $7,500.
In April, 1944 Don Eckelberry, renowned wildlife artist and bird guide illustrator, visited the Singer Tract of Louisiana and witnessed what became the last confirmed sighting of the bird in the United States. The watercolor image, signed by Eckelberry and dated 1947, is an exceedingly rare testament to that final encounter when the artist was literally sketching the last ivory-bill as the bulldozers were coming! Now the money raised from the sale of this watercolor, painted shortly after that expedition, will help protect habitats for a myriad of species that teeter on the brink of extinction. Eckelberry’s image clearly demonstrates why people love this animal and hope that the bird might not be extinct after all—the fiery plume of the male, the distinct ivory bill, and the breathtaking size of the creature are vividly captured in the watercolor.
Mr. W. Graham Arader III, one of the country’s foremost experts on natural history prints and paintings, personally viewed the framed and matted painting at his New York City gallery and placed the opening bid on the painting of $7,500 when it comes up for auction in St. Louis on April 24, 2008. Other auction items include a Toyota Prius Hybrid, an Amazon River cruise, and a wildlife-management study abroad trip to South Africa.
Bidders must be present at the auction however proxy bidders are welcome. Tickets are available for $200 per person ($100 of which is tax-deductible), and may be purchased by calling 703-438-6095.