September 28, 1887 - July 24, 1969
Francis Lee Jaques (28 September 1887-24 July 1969), also known as Lee Jaques, began his career as a self-taught artist depicting wildlife and outdoor scenes. He is celebrated for his diorama and habitat paintings at the American Museum of Natural History, notably the Whitney Memorial Hall of Pacific Bird Life. Jaques worked at the Museum from August 1924 to March 1957. He joined the Department of Preparation as a staff artist, painting the dome in the Birds of the World Hall. For a brief period, he served as interim head of the Exhibitions Department. His last background painting, for the Glacier Park Timberline group, was finished in 1954. Jaques' body of work for the Museum includes eighty painted backdrops, execution of the Whitney Memorial Hall, completed in the 1950s, and illustration of colleagues' books, such as Robert Cushman Murphy's Oceanic birds of South America (1936). In 1927, Jaques married Florence Page, who became a writer. The couple traveled frequently and collaborated on books (Canoe country, 1938, The geese fly high, 1939, and others), winning an award in 1946. Florence accompanied her husband on some AMNH expeditions, at times collecting materials, and painted small areas of his backgrounds. Jaques created art for other natural history institutions, including the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History in Minnesota. He illustrated numerous books and magazines, and in 1966 began writing an autobiography. In 1969, the artist died of pulmonary embolism in St. Paul, Minnesota. Florence's biography on her husband was published in 1973.
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