When designing an interior, if drawn to that mysterious allure found in animal prints yet hesitant to wield an entire cheetah print sofa, find a subtler inspiration within the myriad images of wild animals of the fine art world. Many an artist has been compelled to bring nature into their work, aligning themselves with the same magnetic energies emanating from the creatures themselves in order to offer artistic justice to their wonder and beauty. These art works bestow a wealth of opportunity to benefit from the atmosphere of the wilds while leaving their inhabitants wild.
Xu Beihong – Horse, offset lithograph Pablo Picasso – De Memoire D'Homme VIII, Mourlot stone lithograph 1950
A gallery exhibition poster for Chinese brush paintings displays Xu Beihong’s painting Horse, simple yet dramatic, and full of vitality as a result. And 1950 Picasso Mourlot-printed stone lithograph De Memoire D'Homme VIII can tout the same qualities, infusing grandeur into this familiar amphibian.
Niki de Saint Phalle – Singe-Lion (Monkey-Lion) and Rhinoceros, silkscreens
Niki de Saint Phalle creates delightful and dignified silkscreens reminiscent of stained glass that seem equal parts mythological and contemporary. Singe-Lion (Monkey-Lion) brings the wilds of nature and imagination alike, and Rhinoceros portrays this animal in a playful light while giving a nod to its formidable character.
Pablo Picasso – Exposition Vallauris, Mourlot stone lithograph 1959 Paul Rebeyrolle – The Boar, SIGNED stone lithograph 1965
A goat with its horns and a wild boar do not seem like such strange animals to revere when artists like Picasso and Paul Rebeyrolle are channeling them. Exposition Vallauris proves itself worthy especially with such interesting typography and rich color, and The Boar, a signed work somehow reveals this personality’s inherent earthy glamour.
Fernand Leger – Musee Des Arts Decoratifs, stone lithograph 1956 Richard Royce – Tropics Composition, etching
Whether swimming in the sea or the sky, or perhaps some intermediary level of both, art of ocean life or of birds has a way of bringing a wonderful element of flow into a space. Fernand Leger’s birds in this 1956 stone lithograph Musee Des Arts Decoratifs could almost be fish, and Richard Royce’s Tropics Composition feels almost like a bird silhouetted in front of the sun. Hunt Slonem’s 1979 silkscreen Crane 2 mingles the two settings with effortless splendor.
Hunt Slonem – Crane 2, silkscreen 1979
"... the same magnetic energies emanating from the creatures themselves in order to offer artistic justice to their wonder and beauty."
Stylized woodblock prints allow the reflections of nature while still carving their own illustrious charm, as in Mount Rainier by Ella Sophonisba Hergesheimer and Pythons by Wuanita Smith, both from the American Block Print Calendar published by Gutenberg Publishing Co. in Chicago in 1939. The tranquility of mountain landscapes or the magic hiding in snake patterns can transport the viewer while in the comfort of home that is the great indoors.
Ella Sophonisba Hergesheimer – Mount Rainier, woodblock 1939 Wuanita Smith – Pythons, woodblock 1939
If surrounded by an apartment jungle filled with plants and the occasional wild housecat, commune with the trending theme by complimenting it with images of the untamed jungles to which it aspires. Robert Indiana’s Parrot silkscreen and Walasse Ting’s Two Parrots bring sunshine with them wherever they perch, and Andy Warhol’s Four Monkeys allow for some jumping around without getting into trouble. In Nature Scene by Andrew Slothower the hidden gems all reveal themselves at once, with as much animal activity going on as greenery, for a complete portal to the jungle through the window of a silkscreen from edge to edge.
Robert Indiana – Parrot, silkscreen 1997 Walasse Ting – Two Parrots, framed offset lithograph 1990
Andy Warhol – Four Monkeys, offset lithograph 1990 Andrew Slothower – Nature Scene, silkscreen 1981
For a more northern forest kind of association, Jean-Paul Riopelle’s Owls Multicolor or Franz Marc’s Blue Fox could summon the right ambiance, along with Eagle, a signed Robert Rauschenberg work that seems to conjure nearly as much eagle presence, with its rippling patterns and dynamic wingbeat shimmer, as would this actual bird of the sun.
Jean-Paul Riopelle – Owls Multicolor, stone lithograph 1970
Franz Marc – Blue Fox, offset lithograph 2016 Robert Rauschenberg – Eagle, SIGNED offset lithograph 1997
And if tiger stripes already adorn some of the drapery in your lair, then perhaps this John Baldessari work Tiger with No Stripes will release a moment of clear space amongst the enchanting organic cacophony. But since we are playing with the malleability of walls and reality, one has to wonder— in the absence of the spectator’s faces and the loosed object of their gaze, where is that tiger?
John Baldessari – Tiger with No Stripes, offset lithograph 2017