Walter Addison American, 1914-1982


Walter Addison was born in Spokane, Washington and moved to New York City in 1930 as a young, aspiring artist. Over the course of the next three decades, he established himself in the artistic and zoological worlds of New York and became recognized as an outstanding animal artist.


In the early 1930s Addison studied at the National Academy of Design and earned several prestigious fellowships in the arts: The Guggenheim Fellowship in Sculpture and the Tiffany Sculpture Fellowship. During the 1940s he worked as the lead artist at the Bronx Zoo, where he painted many famous murals decorating the animal houses. Addison proceeded to earn several public art commissions, such as a much-lauded mural at the Governor Clinton Hotel in New York, an invitation to exhibit animal sculptures in the General Motors building at the 1964 World's Fair, and a mural for the New York City Aquarium in 1965. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Addison also created animal sculptures for the popular window displays of Macy's and Lord & Taylor department stores in Manhattan.


Addison's notable exhibitions in his lifetime include the American Watercolor Society (1937); Feragil Galleries, New York (1937); National Academy of Design Annual Exhibition (1938 & 1943); and America House (1945). *Dr. William G. Conway, the noted former Director of the New York Zoological Society, highly praised the artist's work: "Addison's art seems to capture the very essence of the animal soul - the intrinsic living, fructifying holy spirit captured by the ancient painters at the Lascaux Caves 30,000 years ago."

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