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Paleoart: Visions of the Prehistoric Past

Zoë Lescaze

Author and Art Critic

Sunday, March 17, 2019           2:00 P.M.            Linder Theater

American Museum of Natural History         New York City 

Paleontologists collect and study fossils, attempting to organize them by relationships and reconstruct how they appeared in life. They also attempt to understand their ecological and environmental relationships to other fossil organisms of the time and to the then physical environment, all of this following accepted scientific practices.

The fossil record and frequently the fossils themselves are incomplete, however, so to accomplish the above, paleontologists must compare them to living creatures and environments.

For almost 200 years, artists have worked with scientists to depict fossil organisms and their environment in painting, drawing and sculpture, and it is these representations that most people come to see as the creature themselves.

But, because the science is incomplete, the artist must of necessity add details of looks and behaviors not evidenced directly by the fossils themselves and, early on, even allowed their unbridled fantasy to inhabit their works.

Also, artists don’t live in a vacuum - their paintings incorporate their own aesthetics as well as an artistic style of the times that they live in, from Impressionism to Art Nouveau.

Zoë Lescaze, author of the book Paleoart: Visions of the Prehistoric Past, will discuss paleoart from its beginning in 1830 until the present. She will discuss not only the science behind the paintings, but also the styles and times in which the artists lived and how this too influenced their work and, therefore, our image of the prehistoric past..

 There will be copies of the book Paleoart: Visions of the Prehistoric Past available for purchase at the meeting. Zoë will be happy to autograph a copy for you. As well as wonderful writing, this large format book contains excellent reproductions of the artwork discussed in it. It is published by Taschen, a publisher well known for the quality of art reproductions in their books.

Important Note: this month’s meeting and talk will be held in the Linder Theater at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The theater is located on the first floor of the Museum near the Hall of Human Origins and the Hall of Northwest Coast Peoples.



These are the meeting dates of the New York Paleontological Society for the 2018-2019 season. We meet at 2:00 P.M. in room 319 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (79th Street and Central Park West), unless otherwise specified. Our Annual Party will be held at the NYU Tandon (Polytechnic) School of Engineering in Brooklyn, N.Y. Due to changes in the museum’s schedule, the above dates may change (usually very unlikely), so check your Newsletter or the monthly meeting notice on this website.

September 16,2018
**December 1 or 8, 2018
March 17, 2019
*October 7, 2018
January 20,  2019
***April 14, 2019
November 18, 2018
February 17, 2019
May 19, 2019

NOTE: All the above dates are third Sundays of their respective months, except for October and April.

*   Our October meeting is on the first Sunday, October 7. According to the Museum, The room is not available on the second or third Sundays.

** Our Annual Party (a Saturday) - date to be finalized!

*** Our April meeting is on Sunday, April 14.




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