Ogden Pleissner: The Sportsman’s Artist

by William A. Gage, Department Head

Ogden Pleissner: The Sportsman's Artist


Grouse Hunting, Ogden Minton Pleissner
Grouse Hunting, Ogden Minton Pleissner

Ogden Minton Pleissner (American, 1905-1983) was a twentieth century American artist who is best known for his fishing and hunting paintings, though most of his works were landscapes in both oils and watercolors. Early in life he painted in oils and executed landscapes including paintings of the American west. He was stationed in the Aleutian Islands during WWII and found that painting in oils was difficult as the damp climate was not conducive to drying oils. This forced him to switch to watercolors which sped up the drying process. He was a prolific artist and painted many works depicting life for the troops on the islands as well as the islands themselves. This wartime collection of works is housed at the Pentagon.

At the completion of the war he went to Europe and painted landscapes in France, Italy and England. 600 of his works reside at the Shelburne Museum that is located in Shelburne, Vermont; the museum has recreated his Manchester, Vermont studio, and rotates the collection throughout the year. Being an avid hunter and fisherman it was only natural that he would apply his artistic talent to the realistic depiction of gentleman’s pursuits, his attention to detail and ability to portray action in his sporting scenes make his paintings desirable to the sporting collector.

Other Sporting Art to be Included
Other Sporting Art to be Included

One of the finest salmon fishing watercolors he executed will be a highlight in Julia’s February 2018 auction. He depicts a fisherman seated in a canoe held fast at the edge by his guide and a fellow angler. The fisherman’s rod is bent and a salmon can be seen leaping to escape the hook. The viewer is immersed into the scene and can feel the excitement of the oncoming fight. Titled “A Big One Hooked” it should find plenty of auction action as the buyers will not want this one to get away!

In addition there is an equally fine watercolor of a hunting scene titled “Grouse Hunting” featuring a wonderful action packed scene of two hunters with guns up aiming at a recently flushed grouse which flies out over a brook with cascading water. The two hunters flank a dirt road which runs through the side of a low hill which provides an interesting vantage point for the scene. We see in both of these outstanding paintings the skill of an artist as well as the acute knowledge of a sportsman.

These works will be offered in our Winter 2018 Fine Art, Asian & Antiques auction on February 7-9, 2018. Click here for details.