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Bison Diorama Restoration Complete!

Discussion in 'Taxidermy History' started by gdante, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. Hi all,
    Sorry I have not been on here in a while to update you but as you can imagine, things have been busy. So, the first half of this project is finally complete with all of the dioramas in the south zone of the American Museum of Natural History's North American Mammal Hall restored. I will try to post those photos as soon as I have more time. For now, I thought I'd update you from my last post with photos of the Bison re-coloring.

    I want to thank our good friend John Bellucci for sending me an amazing set of reference photos...the images were incredible! Thanks John!

    The first images I'll show you here was a mystery that was solved with the help of another friend. We noticed this band of bee's wax on top of the eye of the bison bull, put there in a very distinct manner. It had no color as you can see and we wondered of it's purpose. One day, John Janelli came to visit with a post card of the Bison Diorama from the 1960's. It was in color and depicted the bison before their severe fading. As I looked closer, I could see in the photo, this brilliant white band across the top of the bull's eye. A rotation!! Rockwell, added the bee's wax to create the sclera band...genius! As you can see, I re-painted the white which was faded and lost to bring back this illusion.



    Once I had the colors finalized and approved, I sprayed some test areas on the back of the bull to see if the dyes would react with the older hair, any materials which might be on the hide, etc.


    Once this was approved, re-coloring began and as you can see with this mother and calf, the transformation was dramatic. the cow has some color on it now and the calf is the original faded color. Notice the plastic window open so I could see the background painting. One of the most important goals of this was to make sure the taxidermy specimens matched the bison in the painting. Without this the illusion was destroyed.


    The finished cow, calf, and the painting now revealed.


    Notice the difference when color was applied to the bison in front compared to the faded bull in the back.


    The back bull now colored.


    The Bull, before and after.



    The Pronghorn group was also re-colored.





    More to come...enjoy!
    George Dante
  2. Rick Krane

    Rick Krane Fish Taxidermist/ Judge/ Sculptor/ Instructor

    Outstanding George! This is the aspect of taxidermy that I find most inspirational as it is the foundation of all we enjoy today! Thank you George for sharing this great effort!!!

    My Best

    Rick Krane

  3. Fantastic work !

  4. michael p.

    michael p. Getting better with age :)

    Very outstanding!
  5. BillFromPa

    BillFromPa Active Member

    They definitely put the right group on this project! Great job George! ;)
  6. Nyati

    Nyati I love tahr huntin

    Awesome work, I'd love to head over that way one day and see these dioramas in person.
  7. LordRusty

    LordRusty If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    George, you have recreated my childhood memories of this group! When I painted up my Aurora model of "The American Bison", I used the big bull from this group as my guide ... the dark head, brown body and almost "Golden Fleece" on the shoulders ... and you have brought him, and all the subjects in this diorama, back from the dead. Bravo, my friend, BRAVO! Well done!!!

  8. John Janelli

    John Janelli New Member

    Gentlemen, you see only what your eyes show you here. Every day I've visited that monumental restoration, with and without George being there, I saw only one thing; the next successor of Steve Quinn, department of preparation and exhibition may just well be George Dante Jr.
    Even the AMNH conservators feel that George is the Buonarroti of the taxidermy world, and I concur. But I draw the line when they rave how cute he is, LOL!!!
  9. Whitetailart

    Whitetailart New Member

    Very nice George You did a great job on restoring it.
  10. Richard C

    Richard C Active Member

    Fantastic save, especially the Pronghorns with their fragile hair. Anxiously awaiting the next photos.
  11. grumpa

    grumpa Member

    You get a gold star, George. Take a bow.
  12. Bill Yox

    Bill Yox Active Member

    George its so much fun watching you as you finally realize your dream youve dreamt for so long. Recall all our late night conversations about this project and so many more to come. You inspire us all. Thanks for allowing so many of us to live this dream through you in the AMNH. How generous of you to share this sneak peek with us all.
  13. Hey guys,
    Wow!! Thank you so much for the kind words!!! Mr. Janelli...I am not worthy! Lol. It brings me great pleasure to share this with you and will continue to make you all a part of this.

    Thank you,
  14. clare109

    clare109 Active Member

    a great job well done


    saving an american treasure priceless great job
  16. ANDY

    ANDY Active Member

    Outstanding job.
  17. mark3466

    mark3466 New Member

    As usual George....incredable.The Garden State is lucky to have you as its ambassador to the taxidermy industry. Your work speaks for itself
  18. irishme

    irishme New Member

    ;) Beautiful
  19. Western Wildlife Art Studio

    Western Wildlife Art Studio STUDIO PHONE (406) 356-2100

    Nice job George, high five,,
  20. tiaperks

    tiaperks New Member

    I have a question what these pieces were for?.. I'm looking to rent a taxidermy full grown Bison for a commercial shoot and I'm wondering if anyone knows of who I can contact about this?... Let me know?