Artwork of the Week: August 9, 2020
Mahonri M. Young (1877-1957), Leopard Study, 1911, colored pencil and crayon, 4 7/8 x 8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchase/gift of the Mahonri M. Young Estate, 1959.
Though Mahonri Young worked in a variety of artistic media, he considered drawing as the foundation of his dynamic realism and skill. He believed that art came from life and always carried a sketchbook, which he filled with images based on his daily observations. Even after decades of artistic pursuit, Mahonri never felt he had mastered forms in motion.
Mahonri drew this languid leopard at New York’s Bronx Zoo, a favorite haunt of the artist. This quick sketch, done in August 1911, seems to effortlessly convey the animal at rest during the hot summer weather. Mahonri loved observing and sketching the animals, capturing the contours and movement of their unique forms; his sketchbooks are filled with hundreds of studies of wildlife, both in zoos and in the wild.