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Illustration Art, Black Fox, Frederick Sweney, Vintage Painting, Mid 20th Century


Frederick Sweney (1912-1996)
Black Fox
American: 3rd Quarter, 20th Century
Oil on board
Signed lower right
18 x 23 inches, overall
24.5 x 29.5 inches in gold frame
Provenance: Estate of William R. Brown, Brown and Bigelow Gallery of American Art, St. Paul, Minnesota; The Lenz Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

A black fox leaps over a fallen tree in a pasture. Black foxes are red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in the color phase where the pelt is mostly black. This painting was previously in the collection of the Brown and Bigelow Gallery of American Art. Sweney produced the artwork for the Brown & Bigelow publishing company’s wildlife calendars for 10 years. It may be posited that this painting was made by Sweney for one of the Brown and Bigelow calendars, but we do not have any knowledge of its publication as such.

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Frederick (sometimes spelled Frederic ) Sweney was an illustrator, painter, author and teacher. Born in Pennsylvania, he studied at the Cleveland School of Art. From early in his career, he depicted natural history subjects, winning a prize in an exhibition of bird art at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in 1939. He contributed articles and illustrations to magazines such as Sports Afield, Nature, Outdoors and Outdoors Man and produced the artwork for the Minnesota-based Brown & Bigelow publishing company’s wildlife calendars for 10 years. By 1956 he was a professor at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida. Sweney wrote several instructional art books: Technique of Painting and Drawing Wildlife (1959), Painting the American Scene in Watercolor (1964), The Art of Painting Animals: A Beginning Artist’s Guide to the Portrayal of Domestic Animals, Wildlife and Birds (1983) and Cityscape: The Art of Painting the Urban Environment (1985).

Condition: Generally very good with minor toning, wear, handling.


Gilbert, Dorothy B., ed. Who’s Who in American Art. New York: American Federation of Arts and R.R. Bowker, 1959. p. 558.

Additional information


20th Century