EXCEPTIONAL Early Fish Weathervane.
Likely J. W. Fiske
New York City, ca. 1870.
Copper, with a complex weathered surface that has taken on a beautiful verdigris color while retaining a good amount of gilding and sizing. As weathervanes were of critical importance for centuries to foretell changes in weather, they also become an important American sculptural art form. The best examples, like this scarce full-bodied fish, have appealing sculptural design AND retain an authentic surface that reflects the environmental conditions that led to the aesthetic.
Note the balance of top and bottom fins, the graceful flowing lines of the body into the flared and corrugated tail, the repousse eyes, and that dramatic mouth, rimmed with copper molding, that is downswept against the flat bottom jaw. The presence is strong and confident.
About 31 1/2 inches long x 13 tall (including stand) x 5 deep. Superb condition; just a few filled or open bullet holes and minor imperfections. See: The Art of the Weathervane, Steve Miller, page 79 for a similar example.