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For many years, Albert Laessle worked out of a country studio, allowing animals such as chickens and goats to be a part of his daily routine. Laessle's fascination with animals started when he was a boy and a classmate brought a snapping turtle into science class. The entire class crowded around the turtle, watching its every move. Close study of animals was crucial to Laessle's artistic process, whether he was observing them in their natural habitat or in the Philadelphia Zoo. He wanted to understand completely the spirit of the animal he was portraying, and often gave them almost human characteristics. In Defiance, Laessle depicted a powerful eagle with an air of dignity and spirit by emphasizing the bird's rigid posture and wind-blown plumage.

Credit: Gift of the heirs of Albert Laessle: Mrs. Albertine de Bempt Laessle, Mr. Albert M. Laessle and Mr. Paul Laessle

78.6 x 41.6 x 69.8 cm
Image and text: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2024

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