#309…sci., relig., ETC.: “Old Art, a New Discovery”


The Icebergs

It’s about


“The Icebergs”

 a painting by Fredric Edwin Church


 when: 1861

 size:  6 ft. by 10 ft.

 history:  among other things,

     it disappeared for 116 years


For more use the DOOR.




   [Taken directly from Eli J. Knapp’s, “Frustration or Fervor: Why Three Acres Is All I Need” that appeared in Bird Watcher’s Digest January/February 2015.]


   “In 1861, Frederic Edwin Church unveiled a massive painting called “The Icebergs,” in New York. The reaction to the 6 x 10-foot arctic landscape scene was reserved at best. Nor did it fare much better when the painting was exhibited in Boston. It finally generated acclaim, however, when it arrived in London. Just as soon as the painting was appreciated, something weird happened. It was bought and then disappeared for 116 years. Somehow, “The Icebergs” went missing as it passed by inheritance through generations.

   “It reappeared hanging frameless in a stairwell of a reform school for boys in England. During one of the decades it hung there, one of the boys even took the liberty of signing it. Eventually needing funds, the school sent the work to the United States, where it was auctioned in 1979. Church’s work sold for a record $2.5 million in the very country that didn’t appreciate it. Now it proudly hangs in the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts.”


   How could such a tale appear as part of a larger story in a birding magazine?

   To find out why and much more, you’ll have to connect with the magazine itself (see above). Several articles on the Internet confirm this tale. Church and two other “old guys” are used to make an important point about birding.

   I recommend Bird Watcher’s Digest and the fine writing of a middle son (this time not neglected) who teaches at Houghton College in Western New York as well as three months each year in Tanzania.

Author: John Knapp

2 thoughts on “#309…sci., relig., ETC.: “Old Art, a New Discovery”

  1. Could it be the painting was not appreciated in NY and Boston due to the similarities found in the painting to their own climates? Looking forward to investigating Eli’s work, proud dad.

    1. We sure welcome your good taste and look forward to more comments. Some things you may be particularly interested in (remember SS?) will be coming up soon.

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