Hunt Slonem, Bunnies

Hunt Slonem’s Fascination with Exotica

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Hunt Slonem does a painting of a rabbit every day. He believes that repetition in his art, like the repetition in religious rituals, gives his work a spiritual element. And though Bunnies may seem a whimsical subject, Slonem’s quick, easy brushstrokes evoke a feeling of tenderness for his subjects and show a mastery of his art.

Slonem’s New York studio is filled with his paintings of birds, butterflies, bunnies and Abraham Lincoln, as well as his collections of glass, sculptures, portraits, furniture and bird cages that house dozens of birds that he has rescued, and often perch on his shoulder while he paints.

When he downsized from a 40,000 square foot studio to 15,000 square feet he had to give away 27 sofas. “I was beside myself” he said in a New York magazine interview. Slonem goes to flea markets twice a week to make up for the loss.

Since the late 1970s, Slonem has been part of Manhattan’s art and social scene, and has exhibited his work in more than fifty museums around the world. His 6 foot by 85 foot bird mural has graced the city’s Bryant Park Grill since 1995.

Slonem’s layers of repetitive brush strokes give his work an extra dimension. Even his paintings of Abraham Lincoln have the textural quality that is easily recognizable.

Slonem was born in Kittery, Maine in 1951. His father was a Navy officer who moved the family to several naval bases, including one in Hawaii, where Slonem became enamored with birds and butterflies. His fascination with tropical flora and fauna continued to grow when he lived in Nicaragua as an exchange student.

After graduating from Tulane in 1973, with a B.A. in Painting and Art History, Slonem moved to New York. He had his first major exhibit in 1977 and his career took off. Slonem’s work has been included in the the permanent collections of dozens of galleries and museums around the world, including the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Whitney Museum, the Boca Raton Museum of Art, and the Coral Springs Museum.

This past Easter, Gliterrati Publishing released, Bunnies, an art book filled with Slonem’s bunny paintings. His bunnies, birds and butterflies can also be found on wallpaper, fabrics, carpeting, scarves and tote bags.

Hunt Slonem has had an extraordinary career, spanning almost forty years. His work has been shown consistently in galleries and museums from New Orleans to Istanbul.When he’s not in his Manhattan studio or at a gallery opening or book signing, Slonem is at one of his two plantation homes in Louisiana or his estate in upstate New York.

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