Advanced Search
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photography by Dwight Primiano.
Title:

"It Is Very Queer, Isn't It?"


Artist: James Henry Beard (1812 - 1893)
Date: 1885
Dimensions:
32 1/2 x 26 1/4 in. (82.6 x 66.7 cm)
Framed: 42 1/2 × 36 3/4 × 2 3/8 in. (108 × 93.3 × 6 cm)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2007.179
Signed: l.r.: J. H. Beard N.A. / 1885
On View
Accession Number: 2007.179
ProvenanceEstate of Charles Poindexter, New York, NY; (William Doyle Gallery, New York, NY), 1981; purchased by Armand Hammer Foundation, Los, Angeles, CA, 1981; purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2007
Label TextWhat might this chimpanzee be pondering? The inclusion of Charles Darwin’s 1871 Descent of Man and Pythagoras’s Theory of Metampsychosis, which concerns the transmigration of souls to new bodies, encourages viewers and chimpanzees alike to ponder theories of evolution. The painting is more than a symbolic work, however. It is also a portrait of a well-known chimpanzee named Mr. Crowley who lived at the Central Park Zoo. James Henry Beard, like his brother, often painted animals in human guises to address issues of their day.
<