Drawing pictures of animals were the first instinctive creations of mankind. Hiding inside the caves of high mountains and low valleys, the ancient people carved paintings of their tamed animals and the wild ones – sometimes the animals attacked the men, sometimes the men hunted them down – but the inner desire to interpret and create real or imaginary visions of the wild stayed the same.
Thousands of years down, we are still equally intrigued by the various nuances of the wild and have added to that a knack for everything surreal which tickles our fantasy. You can learn more about the history of wildlife art here.
If you are interested in the genre, these are the places.
1. Mall Gallery, London
Established and operated by the Federation of British Artists – a major art charity of the United Kingdom, Mall Gallery is Central London’s one of the leading patrons of contemporary fantasy art. The Federation is made up of eight of UK’s leading art societies that work with different genres of oil, water, and sculpture, including wildlife, aviary, and marine. The Mall Gallery of London hosts a number of events and exhibitions around the year celebrating the modern visual art of both veteran and upcoming artists, and sell them at affordable prices.
The Society of Wildlife Artists, established in 1964, is a member of the Federation and they hold regular shows in the Mall Gallery exhibiting exemplary paintings, sculptures and other art forms of wildlife. For over 50 years, they have to set a standard for understanding and interpretation of wildlife art and its nuances in Britain.
2. The Hunter Gallery, Suffolk
Established in 2001, The Hunter Gallery is a cozy and contemporary hub of modern paintings and art with something to offer for every taste. Their collection includes exquisite interpretations of classic and modern wildlife art over an eclectic range of style, shades, and creativity.
3. The Southern Gallery
The Southern Gallery was the leading wildlife art gallery of the United Kingdom, displaying an extensive and never-seen-before collection of artists Carl Brenders and Steven Townsend, famous for their photo-perfect brushwork and palette skills. Moreover, they also had a range of exceptional contemporary art of international standard. But ever since they shut down their Cornwall showroom, all of their collections are available for viewing and purchasing in their online gallery.
4. Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain
Undoubtedly one of the best collections of contemporary art under one roof in the modern era, the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao is exactly what the world needs to strengthen and sharpen the significance of modern art. The museum specializes in site-specific installations, and two of the most attractive ones is the creation Head On – a pack of wolves running across one entire wall to converge head on to the roof and the giant black widow spider Maman.
The museum is a masterpiece in itself, architected by the famous and genius Frank O. Gehry and has found its way as a major plot scene in Dan Brown’s latest novel Origin, where he describes it as ‘a giant sea leviathan rising out of the sea to rest on the land.’
5. Dutch Art Gallery, Netherlands
The Dutch Art Gallery prides itself on finding, collecting, exhibiting and selling the best of artistic pieces from around the world. They have established professional relationships with local and international artists, both veteran and amateurs and help them bring forth their creations for the world to see and purchase. Wildlife art is one of the many genres they specialize in. Famous wildlife painter Rebecca Zook is a frequent name on their catalog.
There are many more galleries which concentrate on the fauna of the natural kingdom, many more online than real establishments. Together they help to bring out the artistic nature of the wild and also spread awareness about their protection and conservation. There are also current exhibitions about wildlife art in many places of Europe.