308 Courtship Eiders

Category Western Americana
Auction Currency USD
Start Price NA
Estimated at 25,000.00 - 35,000.00 USD
Courtship Eiders
Artist: Harris-Ching, RayDate of Birth: b. 1939
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 36 x 52 inches
Signed: Signed lower left, titled and dated 2003

A native of New Zealand, Ray Harris-Ching is one of the worldÕs foremost wildlife artists, a specialist in painting birds. He came to prominence when his work was seen by eminent ornithologist-artist Sir Peter Scott and earned major acclaim for his illustrations in The ReaderÕs Digest Book of British Birds, one of the worldÕs most popular guidebooks. Ching is devoted to realistic portrayals, but his use of color, interest in animal behavior, and novel point of view convey a special insight into the rhythms of the natural world. The Common Eider is the largest of the northern ducks, a beautiful circumpolar bird found from the Arctic Circle to about the 45th Parallel (Maine in the U.S.). Long hunted and raised for the warmth of its down, Eiders are hardy birds that live their lives on the open sea and along the coastal tundra of the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans, and the North Sea. ÒCommon Eiders court socially in winter and spring,Ó according to noted waterfowl ornithologist Frank S. Todd, Òwhen the aggressive males fight with much flailing of their wings amid considerable splashing. Displaying drakes puff out their chests and throw their heads back until the bill points vertically, a posture that greatly emphasizes the bold black-and-white pattern, soft pastel pink of the breast, and subtle green on the nape.Ó (Natural History of the Waterfowl. San Diego, CA: Sand Diego Natural History Museum.Ibis Publishing. 1996. p. 381). In Courtship Eiders, fog over the cold gray water parts and Harris-Ching shows the female Eider playing hard-to-get as the drake works to get her attention. Focusing on just this pair in a large canvas compels us to consider this dance as an emblem of all mating rituals in all species.