Treasures from Home: Animal Art

Lauren Wolfer, Associate Curator of Special Collections & Archives

Have you ever wondered what art hangs in the homes of people who work in an art museum? Wonder no more, because we have the answer! In this spin on “Treasures from the Vault”, “Treasures from Home” highlights pieces from our own, personal collections of art! Snoop on our Associate Curator of Special Collections & Archives Lauren Wolfer’s collection of animal prints and sculpture in our first installment of “Treasures from Home”.

This photo features a black tuxedo cat looking up at the photographer while laying on a desk. Next to him is a print of a black cat on a white background, with long yellow flowers and green leaves obscuring the cat.
Lauren Wolfer’s chonky tuxedo cat, Moody, in her home studio with the print she bought because it looked like him! The Little Friends of Printmaking. Cat Behind Plants. Screenprint, 2017. Photo courtesy of Lauren Wolfer.

First, I have to admit that very few of the following works were actually purchased. My favorite way to collect prints is to join in printmaking exchanges. Here’s how it works: You make approximately 15-20 prints of any kind (usually the organizers keep two for their archives), send in the prints with the submission fee (around $15-$30), and they mail back to you a variety of prints from artists located everywhere! My two favorite exchanges are Leftovers and the SGCI conference exchange. Not a printmaker, per se? That’s okay! I’ve received prints of various levels of technical skill, including one from a child, it’s all about having fun! Don’t have the materials? Check out Kitchen Lithography!

I bought the steampunk bird (below) at an estate sale off of lake Wawasee; there’s a lot of hidden treasures at auctions and estate sales if you spend time looking. There were three birds total and I was hoping to sweep all of them up but there were others interested in them as well… but I got the biggest one!

This bird sculpture is in the steampunk style. Made up of multiple pieces, it includes a ruler, scrap metal, and the arrow from a compass.
Jim and Tori Mullan, Steampunk Mullanium. Songbird. Mixed media. Photo courtesy of Lauren Wolfer.

Back in 2014 when I was still the Technical Assistant at FWMoA, Dennis McNett had a solo exhibit at the museum with an entire corner dedicated to an installation. We worked weekend hours to get it completed and he gifted me his print (below) at the end of the week!

In this screensprint, the head of a leopard cat, it's mouth open to show teeth and tongue, is attached to the coiling body of a snake. Black, white, and blue make up the body of the snake with only the tongue a muted pink.
Dennis McNett, American, b.1972. Wolfbat Leopard Snake. Screenprint, 2013. Photo courtesy of Lauren Wolfer.

The cat in a jar by Amanda Dornbush (below), Cat Behind Plants (above), and Martha Rich’s (above) work were all purchased because, duh, CATS! My cat, Moody (yes, that’s a Harry Potter reference) is a tuxedo cat and it reminded me a lot of him. Art buying doesn’t always have to be so serious, and it’s all about collecting what you like. These bring a smile to my face and make my walls more colorful.

A painting in the shape of a mason jar, inside the mason jar is a white cat, it's face pointed upward at the lightening bugs around it with one paw in the sky. The lightening bugs aren't just painted on, they are also lights!
This mixed media kitty is by a local Fort Wayne artist and lights up! Amanda Dombush. Untitled. Mixed media, 2019. Photo courtesy of Lauren Wolfer.

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