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Art, Fish, Wilfrid Bronson, American, Vintage Watercolors, c. 1930s


Wilfrid Swancourt Bronson (1894-1985)
[Fish, Shell and Sea Star]
[Fish, Sea Fan and Coral]
American: c. 1930s
Watercolor on paper, mounted on card
Signed by artist
Fish Shell and Sea Star: 14 x 18.5 inches, overall
Fish, Sea Fan and Coral: 12.5 x 18.5 inches, overall
$2,500, the pair

Pair of colorful watercolor studies of fish and marine life by Wilfred Swancourt Bronson, an illustration artist and author specializing in animals. One shows a single torpedo-shaped green fish with yellow dorsal and ventral fins and an orange and purple tail. A shell and sea star sit on the sand lower left; it is signed lower right. The other shows two silvery-blue fish with gold and pink fins and tails. They swim in front of a large yellow sea fan, with other coral in the foreground and background. It is signed lower left. Bronson published three books on fish and marine animals in the 1930s, which leads us to date these to around that decade.

Product description continues below.


Wilfrid Swancourt Bronson was a natural history illustrator who wrote and illustrated numerous children’s books on animals. Born in Chicago, he studied art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After serving in the Army during World War I, he worked as a mural painter’s assistant in New York City. He also accompanied several marine science expeditions as a staff artist. Between 1925 and 1930 he participated in expeditions led by Harry Payne Bingham to collect and study marine life for the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University; 50 oil and watercolor paintings are in the museum’s Bingham Oceanographic Collection. He also accompanied a 1930 voyage to the Galapagos for the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. He published his first natural history children’s book in 1930, and went on to produce over a dozen, the last of which was about dogs in 1969. Reviews of the book praised their scientific accuracy and beautiful illustrations. In the 1930s and ’40s he also painted murals for the Works Progress Administration.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, wear, handling. Mounted on card, apparently as issued.


“Wilfrid S. Bronson.” 14 May 2022. (7 June 2022).

“Wilfrid Swancourt Bronson Archives.” Archives at Yale. (7 June 2022).

Additional information


19th Century