Carl Ethan Akeley1864 - 1926
Born: May 19, 1864, Clarendon, New York
Died: November 17, 1926, Kabara, Belgian Congo (Zaire)
Carl Ethan Akeley was determined to raise taxidermy to the level of "high" art. Working at the American Museum of Natural History, he began to model clay maquettes to create accurate life-sized animal dioramas. In the process, he began to bring taxidermy to new heights. With the encouragement of financier J. P. Morgan and the famed sculptor Alexander Phimster Proctor, he cast the first of the little clay groups into bronze in 1913. That first work was Wounded Comrade, a cast of which is in the National Museum of Wildlife Art Collection.
Akeley became a teacher of such important wildlife artists as sculptors
James L. Clark, Robert Rockwell, and Louis Jonas. Although widely known, Akeley's work is not widely held because it is rare; he did not create many sculptures. Akeley died in 1926 on a wildlife expedition to the Congo.