Conservation-focused artworks by two Iowa legends on exhibit now in Ames

Image courtesy University Museums, Iowa State University

Image courtesy University Museums, Iowa State University

The fine art prints of  Jay N. Darling (1876-1962) and oil paintings of Maynard Reece (b. 1920) are the subject of a new exhibition exploring their mutual interest in wildlife conservation.  This free University Museums exhibition, “In Pursuit of Wildlife Conservation:  Jay N. Darling and Maynard Reece,” at Iowa State University opened August 27 and continues through December 20.

The exhibition will take place in the Brunnier Art Museum in the Scheman Building on the Iowa State University Campus.  Hours, directions, and other information to plan your visit are available on the University Museums website.

At age nineteen, aspiring artist Maynard Reece was introduced to Jay N. “Ding” Darling, Pulitzer Prize winning syndicated cartoonist, nationally acclaimed conservationist, and fine artist. Darling soon became Reece’s aesthetic mentor commenting on the younger artist’s images of wildlife and native landscapes. They became colleagues and friends for the next twenty-three years.

Darling’s images, both cartoon and etchings, became the conscience of conservation for over half a century. While Darling has many legacies, one of his most enduring was the development, creation and implantation of the Federal Duck Stamp Program in 1934 under the U.S. Biological Survey (now the United States Fish and Wildlife Service). The proceeds of this program remain directed towards wetland refuges for wildlife where millions of acres have been rescued, restored and preserved.

Maynard Reece has won five of the Federal Duck Stamp competitions beginning in 1948 and continuing in 1951,1959, 1969, 1971, more than any other artist. Reece’s wildlife art has been published in many national magazines and his oil paintings are prized by collectors.

The exhibition, In Pursuit of Wildlife Conservation: Jay N. Darling and Maynard Reece will include 75 etchings by Jay N. “Ding” Darling, including Darling’s original 1934 Duck Stamp and etching, and 30 paintings by Maynard Reece, including the five paintings for the Federal Duck Stamps. A highlight of the exhibition is a newly commissioned painting by Maynard Reece to commemorate the Reece-Darling relationship with wildlife conservation.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication featuring an essay by esteemed and award-winning wildlife conservation author Tom Davis.

The exhibition is organized by the University Museums with participation of Maynard and Brad Reece. Exhibition support is generously provided by Harold and Rachel Crawford, Clifford Smith, Linda and Willis M. Bywater, Peter Orazem and Patricia Cotter, Christopher Koss, Fred and Ruth Kammeier, Ralph and Charlotte Schlenker Charitable Trust, Donna Howard, Mary Ellen and Don Wishart, Betty and Dennis Keeney and University Museums Membership.

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