Louis Paul Jonas1894 - 1971
Born: July 17, 1894, Budapest, Hungary
Died: February 16, 1971, Churchtown, New York
Louis Paul Jonas attended art school in Budapest before coming to the United States at the age of 14. Upon his arrival, he began work at his brother's taxidermy studio in Denver, Colorado. There, he was able to study the anatomy of many different animals. Jonas then moved to New York City, where he studied with the internationally known naturalist, animal sculptor, and taxidermist Carl Akeley (1864-1926). Like Akeley, Jonas favored African wildlife, and together they created the famous African Elephant Group that remains on exhibit in Akeley Hall at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. After service in World War I, Jonas returned to the Natural History Museum, where he worked on installations in the Hall of Asian Mammals. At this time, his sculptures began to be exhibited at the National Academy of Design. In 1930, Jonas completed Commemorating the Grizzly Bear, a mother bear protecting her cub, for the Denver Municipal Park, which shows the influence of the Art Deco movement. Eventually, Jonas abandoned taxidermy to concentrate on sculpture and, in 1939, opened a studio in Mahopac, New York.
Jonas may be one of the lesser-known American animal sculptors, but he was no less significant. During his career, he was commissioned to create many life-size sculptures including the Grizzly Bear and Cubs at the Denver Museum of Natural History, nine Dinosaurs for the Sinclair Oil Company exhibit at the 1964 New York World's Fair, and a Rhinoceros for the Davenport Public Museum in Iowa, as well as a dog for fellow sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington. Jonas was also a member of the American Association of Museums and the New York Zoological Society.