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2006 03 24
La Loutre et Les Castors du Canada

I recently returned from a trip to France. I was pretty busy during my stay, but I did have a chance to pop into a used bookstore in Paris, which is where I found this litho (probably late 19th Century) depicting two beavers and an otter. It is beautifully toned and has all of the exquisite line work indicative of prints from that era. What interests me most though is the way the artist, one J.C. Werner, has chosen to render the beaver lodges in the background. Ridiculously tall, perfectly round and somewhat monumental, they have obviously been drawn by someone who has never, ever seen a beaver lodge before. Generously, Werner has also decided that each animal in question should get their own dwelling - a kind of personalized pied à terre.

The huts remind me of this Renzo Piano project, but are most compelling in that they point to a desire that we all have to fill in the unknown with information that we do know. These huts might have been drawn by someone who was thinking of these hats that were fashioned out of another exotic North Americian animal, or maybe beehive skeps.

[email this story] Posted by David Ross on 03/24 at 01:54 PM

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