With tropical animals, worldly sculptures, and vibrant textiles, Hunt Slonem’s early still lifes are filled with treasures that reflect his childhood spent traveling to faraway places. As the son of a Navy officer, Slonem moved every two or three years during his youth, living everywhere from Hawaii to Washington State to Nicaragua. “I would say my whole life could be summed up by the word exotica,” the artist has said. Slonem’s still lifes contain allusions of his various homes, including pineapples, Native American headdresses, and devotional sculptures. Largely created between 1979 and 1981, these still lifes also feature some of Slonem’s earliest depictions of butterflies and birds, now among the artist’s most famous and repeated motifs.
Hunt Slonem, Pillow Garden. Courtesy of Marlborough Gallery.