Hunt Slonem, Tanzania, 2018. Courtesy of Russell Collection.

Hunt Slonem: Bunnies

When Hunt Slonem enters his studio each morning, he warms up by painting bunnies. Slonem, who has owned rabbits as pets since childhood, began painting the creatures in sweeping brushstrokes in the 1980s because he was drawn to their simple, cuddly shapes. “One night I was having Chinese food, and I looked down and realized I am the sign of the rabbit,” Slonem once explained, referring to his Chinese zodiac sign. “So maybe they’re sort of all self-portraits.” To mount his bunny paintings, Slonem has amassed a huge collection of 19th-century frames from flea markets, which he hangs salon-style in his home studio, packed wall-to-wall. The bunnies, rendered in almost childlike contour lines against solid color backgrounds, have multiplied throughout Slonem’s oeuvre, becoming one of his most famous symbols of innocence, luck, mythology, and nature.

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