The Albany Institute's collection is rich in two- and three-dimensional representations of animals. In everyday life, animals are part of our personal experience, whether as pets, beasts of burden, or part of the natural world around us. In art, animal images have been used as subject, decoration, and metaphor since ancient times. Ranging from farmyard to forest to fantasy, Birds and Beasts will remind you of the many ways that animals have been part of the universal human experience.
The objects selected also represent the types of collections the Institute holds: fine arts, decorative arts, photographs, costumes, toys, utilitarian objects, household furnishings and jewelry. The oldest object in this exhibition was made in 1619 in the Netherlands and the most recent was made in Albany in 2006.
The works of Albany-born sisters Gertrude and Dorothy Lathrop are featured in Birds and Beasts. Gertrude (1896-1986) was a sculptor of animals, and Dorothy (1891-1980) was an award-winning illustrator whose drawings were used in more than 38 books.