Abbott Handerson Thayer - Male Wood Duck in a Forest Pool - Study for Book: Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom, 1909 - oil on canvas - ca. 1905-1909 - via Smithsonian American Art Museum

Abbott Handerson Thayer - Male Wood Duck in a Forest Pool - Study for Book: Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom, 1909 - oil on canvas - ca. 1905-1909 - via Smithsonian American Art Museum


Abbott Anderson Thayer - Brother and Sister - oil on canvas - 1889 - via Smithsonian American Art Museum
This work portrays Abbott Thayer’s children one year after their mother’s hospitalization for “melancholia,” or severe depression. Thayer wrote to a friend that her physical deterioration would not be so horrible “were her soul visible” (Anderson, 1982). Thayer captured the sadness and worry of this difficult period in Mary’s heavy-lidded, watery eyes and in Gerald’s searching expression. They look like a modern-day Madonna and Child.

Abbott Anderson Thayer - Brother and Sister - oil on canvas - 1889 - via Smithsonian American Art Museum

This work portrays Abbott Thayer’s children one year after their mother’s hospitalization for “melancholia,” or severe depression. Thayer wrote to a friend that her physical deterioration would not be so horrible “were her soul visible” (Anderson, 1982). Thayer captured the sadness and worry of this difficult period in Mary’s heavy-lidded, watery eyes and in Gerald’s searching expression. They look like a modern-day Madonna and Child.


Abbott Handerson Thayer - Flower Studies - oil on canvas - ca. 1886 - via Smithsonian American Art Museum

Abbott Handerson Thayer - Flower Studies - oil on canvas - ca. 1886 - via Smithsonian American Art Museum


Abbott Handerson Thayer - Sphynx Caterpillar - Study for Book: Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom, 1909 - watercolor - n.d. - via Smithsonian American Art Museum

Abbott Handerson Thayer - Sphynx Caterpillar - Study for Book: Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom, 1909 - watercolor - n.d. - via Smithsonian American Art Museum


Abbott Handerson Thayer - Townsend Bradley Martin - oil on canvas - 1919 - via Smithsonian American Art Museum
Townsend Bradley Martin was a grandson of Andrew Carnegie and heir to a steel fortune. In this portrait sketch of the young boy in a garden, Townsend’s shirt nearly disappears in the foliage. Abbott Thayer was fascinated with natural history, and he developed a theory of natural camouflage that is obvious in his paintings of animals but often creeps into his portraits as well.

Abbott Handerson Thayer - Townsend Bradley Martin - oil on canvas - 1919 - via Smithsonian American Art Museum

Townsend Bradley Martin was a grandson of Andrew Carnegie and heir to a steel fortune. In this portrait sketch of the young boy in a garden, Townsend’s shirt nearly disappears in the foliage. Abbott Thayer was fascinated with natural history, and he developed a theory of natural camouflage that is obvious in his paintings of animals but often creeps into his portraits as well.