Artist Fred Scherer Dies

Background painted by Fred Scherer and James Perry Wilson.

Background painted by Fred Scherer and James Perry Wilson.

By James H. Burns: American Museum of Natural History diorama artist Fred Scherer died November 25 at the age of 98.

When I was a tot–and even, at times, today!–great museum dioramas and installations could fill me with the sense of wonder that some of the genres we cherish hold so dear.

This gentleman was one of the reasons why….

From 1934 to 1972, he created or collaborated on many dioramas in the museum. He created at least 15 of them in the Chapman Memorial Bird Hall, the African Hall and the North American Mammal Hall, his daughter said…

“As time goes on, natural history museums with these wonderful works really will be recognized as the great art museums that they really are,” said [artist Stephen] Quinn, who recently retired from the museum. “These exhibits predated sophisticated film and photography, so this was the medium chosen by scientists to teach natural history. So they’re really like the first form of virtual reality.”


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