Bishop, Richard


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1760-1865 1866-1945 1946-Present
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Etching is perhaps the most mechanical of artistic processes. Given Richard Bishop’s formal study of engineering at Cornell University, the highly technical medium was a logical platform for his aesthetic expression—especially when that expression coincided with his lifelong passion for bird hunting and his exceptional marksmanship. Following military service in World War I, the New York native settled in Philadelphia and launched a successful career at a local manufacturing plant; he retired in 1933 in order to give his full attention to art. Game birds were Bishop’s subject of choice, and he faithfully recorded their motions and migrations in various habitats up and down the Eastern Seaboard—on land and water, and on the wing. In order to capture the physics and poetry of flight patterns, the artist used both single lens photography and high-speed motion picture cameras to document the flocks’ airborne acrobatics, later using the films as references for his studio sketches and paintings in both oil and watercolor. Dick Bishop first visited the Santee Club in the Lowcountry of South Carolina in the mid-1920s. As one of the club's few honorary members, he hunted there regularly through the late 1960s, and his art attests to his love for the place and its people. 

Best known for his prints which were published in two book collections, Bishop's Birds and Bishop's Wildfowl, the artist was a member of several prestigious etching societies. In 1936, the artist was selected to execute the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting stamp. His work can be found in the collections of the Georgia Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Stark Museum of Art.

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