GENTLING, Scott and Stuart. Of Birds and Texas. Fort Worth: Gentling Editions, 1986.
Folio (28 x 22 inches). 40 chromolithographed plates of birds and 10 of landscapes by Scott and Stuart Gentling, each with accompanying text leaf. Loose in 2 natural linen cloth portfolios housed in original natural linen cloth clamshell box, with printed paper label on the front cover (a bit stained).
First edition, limited issue, number 54 of 500 sets and 25 artists' copies, this copy signed by Scott Gentling and John Graves. A magnificent production with superb images of birds native to Texas and local landscapes. After selling an original watercolour of Audubon's Boat-Tailed Grackle at auction, Texas artists and twins Scott and Stuart Gentling decided to create their magnum opus "Of Birds and Texas". Described in an article in "People" magazine" as "a massive boxed portfolio of 50 paintings of birds and landscapes, it was 10 years and $550,000 in the making and might never have seen the light of day without the grackle windfall. "We literally ran out of money," says Stuart, like his brother a full-time artist since college, "and we had to use the grackles as collateral." Most of the $210,000 profit the brothers expect to clear from the sale will go toward clearing up their grackle-backed debts.
Stuart also hopes the publicity surrounding the auction will produce some national recognition for him and his twin. "It's so difficult to get people to take us seriously," he says. "They don't think that something like Of Birds and Texas could be created in the boondocks." They may now, however, since the Gentlings' opus has been getting rave reviews. The Dallas Morning News described it as "destined to become a classic of ornithology and fine printing," and painter Andrew Wyeth declared it "overwhelming." It is certainly that: Two feet long and weighing 46 pounds, it could pass for a coffee table without legs. The price is Texas-size too: $2,500 for one of a limited edition of 500 books. It was Stuart's idea to do the book, and when he first mentioned it, Scott was unenthusiastic. "I haven't painted a bird for 17 years," he said. But Stuart convinced him, proposing the same collaborative approach they had tried as kids. Some pictures took three or four years to produce as both twins struggled to find a dramatic moment in the life of a scissortail flycatcher or a roseate spoonbill and then worked out the picture's composition" (June 15, 1987 Vol. 27 No. 24). Catalogued by Kate Hunter