Arader Galleries
0

P & D, Euro. Ptgs., General Animalia

MEE, Margaret (1909-1988). Original gouache and watercolour over graphite, drawing of a Coral Snake. Probably Mato Gross: 1962

MEE, Margaret (1909-1988). Original gouache and watercolour over graphite, drawing of a Coral Snake. Probably Mato Gross: 1962

6,500.00

Single leaf, float-mounted and framed (11 x 13 4/8 inches; framed size: 21 x 24 inches). Original gouache and watercolour over graphite, drawing of a Coral Snake, annotated by Mee in pencil ibeneath the image "Micrurus narducci? Siphlophis cervinus pulcher (Raddi)", and signed by her lower right.

$6,500.00

Provenance: from the collection of Margaret and Greville Mee; with Henry Sotheran Ltd, "Margaret Mee: works on paper and printed books", 2010, item 25

A fine painting of a coral snake, probably that observed during Mee's second expedition, to the Mato Gross, in 1962. Mee describes seeing the snake, whilst encamped at Aripuana on the banks of the Rio Alto Juruena: "Night came. With nothing to do I could have enjoyed the marvellous stillness, the wide river before me, the star-filled sky, the cries of nocturnal birds and droning of insects to break the silence. Along the river bank hundreds of little phosphorescent eyes looked at me. I thought that one pair might be those of the coral snake - I saw him close on one occasion, a metre long, black white, black red, yellow bands, sliding along the river bed. Instead I decided to try and sleep, put on my pyjamas and got into my hammock with the revolver at my side" (M. Mee. Margaret Mee's Amazon, Woodbridge and Kew: 2004, page 64).

Mee's Coral Snake is reproduced as here, in Ruth L.A. Stiff's The Flowering Amazon. Richmond: 2004, page 38.

"Unlike Amazon botanical artists before her, Margaret worked entirely from living plants. Her fifteen expeditions into the interior, mostly to Amazonia, involved travelling and living under the most primitive conditions. She would draw at night by torchlight to capture rare nocturnal flowers, and this immediacy gave her paintings an accuracy, depth, and colour unrivalled by her predecessors. Her travels coincided with the beginning of the commercial exploitation of the forest, and she expressed her fury at the damage caused to the land and its peoples" (DNB).

Margaret Mee first visited Brazil in 1952 in order to care for her sister Catherine, who was ill. She soon settled there with her husband Greville Mee and it was a few years later that she made her first expedition up the Amazon. Over the next 32 years she made a number of further trips up the Amazon and in coastal areas of Brazil, some of them lasting for four months. During these years, she continued to paint and draw what she saw and kept diaries of her travels, later published. In 1988, shortly after completing another Amazon trip, Mee came to England to lecture to the Royal Geographic Society and to attend the opening of an exhibition of her paintings at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. During this visit, she was tragically killed in a car crash. Catalogued by Kate Hunter

Add To Cart