At first glance, Walton Ford
’s large-scale, highly detailed watercolors of animals recall the prints of 19th-century illustrators John James Audubon and Edward Lear. A closer look reveals a complex and disturbingly anthropomorphic universe
, full of symbols, sly jokes
, and allusions to the ‘operatic’
quality of traditional natural history.
In this stunning but sinister visual universe, beasts and birds are not mere aesthetic objects but dynamic actors in allegorical struggles
: a wild turkey crushes a small parrot in its claw; a troupe of monkeys wreaks havoc on a formal dinner table; an American buffalo is surrounded by bloodied white wolves. In dazzling watercolor
, the images impress as much for their impeccable realism as they do for their complex narratives.
Following the original sold-out Art Edition, this update of Pancha Tantra
is the most comprehensive survey of Ford’s oeuvre to date
, with 40 new works
, more than 120 additional pages, and a new essay by the artist
. It features dazzling details, an in-depth exploration of his visual universe
, a complete biography, and excerpts from his textual inspirations: from Indian folktales and the letters of Benjamin Franklin to the Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini
and Audubon’s Ornithological Biography
.This publication comes with the original six plate aquatint etching Granary
, a follow-up to Ford’s Calafia
series, in which the artist explores California’s myth, folklore, and cinematic history. The print depicts crimson-capped Acorn Woodpeckers guarding their cache of acorns as the Hollywood Hills—and the famed Stahl House—are threatened by wildfire. The thrifty avians are tolerant of humans and can store up to 60,000 acorns in a single hoard, even using telephone poles and fence posts to house their provisions.
Working with master printer Peter Pettengill at Wingate Studio, New Hampshire, Ford used the traditional techniques of line etching
, hard and soft ground, aquatint, spit bite, sugar lift, and drypoint to make the print Granary
. The edition of 100 copies was printed by hand
on 100% cotton archival-quality Rives BFK paper, using a French-made Le Deuil etching press. Each print is numbered and signed by the artist.Art Edition of 100 leather-bound copies in a slipcase, each with a print numbered and signed by Walton Ford.