James Perry Wilson was an American artist and architect, known for his landscape paintings and for his backgrounds for the beloved dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History, where he worked for 23 years. Born in Newark, New Jersey, he became seriously interested in drawing and painting as a teen but trained as an architect, graduating from the Columbia University Architecture School in 1914. He immediately went to work as an architect at Bertram Goodhue, which was reorganized as Mayers, Murray and Philip after Goodhue’s death in the 1920s. He remained there until 1932, when the firm laid off most of their staff due to the Depression. However, during that 18-year period, he continued painting, especially architectural subjects and plein air landscapes in a realist style, with Monhegan Island being a favorite subject. He began working as a diorama painter at the American Museum of Natural History in 1934, where he spent the rest of his career until retiring in 1957. Over his career there, he painted 38 diorama background, including many backgrounds for African and American mammals.
Condition: Generally very good for a working architectural drawing, with the usual overall light toning, wear, handling. Some greater discoloration in blank margins.
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Petty, Jessica. “8 Facts about Castle Harbour You Might Not Know.” The Bermudian. 3 March 2023. https://www.thebermudian.com/culture/our-bermuda/8-facts-about-castle-harbour-you-might-not-know/ (30 October 2023).