Watercolor and gouache on paper. 27 x 18 ½ inches sheet; 25 1/2 x 34 1/4 inches framed. Signed and dated lower right.
Louis Agassiz Fuertes is the greatest American bird painter since John James Audubon. His artist talent in drawing birds was recognized early by the great American ornithologist Dr. Elliott Coues, resulting in a large number of commissions for books and periodicals. By the turn of the century, his mature style characterized by "spontaneous, lifelike compositions of real birds in specific locations" had developed. (Peck, A Celebration of Birds, 52) Fuertes painted "Golden Eagle on Catalina Island" as a wedding present for his friend Joseph Porter Harris. Harris remembered a golden eagle on a cliff on the island, and asked Fuertes to paint this scene, with reference to a poem by Tennyson: "He claps the crag with hooked hands;Close to the sun in lonely lands,Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.The wrinked sea beneath him crawls ;He watches from his mountain walls, And like a thunderbolt he falls."
Reference: Robert McCracken Peck, A Celebration of Birds: The Life and Art of Louis Agassiz Fuertes (Walker and Company: 1982), p. 52; Letter from Joseph Porter Harris (Cleveland, Ohio: March 26, 1932) Attached to back of framed painting.