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Dodd Center to show works of
"greatests bird painter of all time"
April 13, 1998

The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center will exhibit original watercolors by Rex Brasher (1869-1960), Connecticut's 20th century Audubon, starting April 19.

Brasher, who has been called the "greatest bird painter of all time," traveled across the country to fulfill his dream of painting all the birds of North America in their natural habitats. He published his Birds and Trees of North America in 1932.

He was the only painter to paint in detail every known species and sub-species of North American birds, about 1,200 in total. Brasher said his work represented the completion of work begun by John James Audubon.

Born of a Huguenot family in Brooklyn, N.Y., he lived in Kent, CT., for 35 years and did most of his work there.

In 1932, many of his paintings were exhibited at the English Book Shop in New York City.

The State of Connecticut bought the Brasher collection for $74,000 in 1941, and 12 years later started to exhibit them in rotation at the Harkness Memorial State Park.

When decreased state funding made it impractical to continue exhibiting the paintings there, Carl Rettenmeyer, founder of the State Museum of Natural History, urged that they be brought to UConn. The collection is now held in the University Archives at the Dodd Center.

The exhibit, which is cosponsored by the Museum of Natural History, will include a large collection of Brasher's original 875 watercolors and selected volumes of his hand-colored, limited edition set of Birds and Trees of North America.

An opening reception is scheduled for Sunday, April 19, from 2-4 p.m. in the Dodd Center.

Usha R. Palaniswami