Playing with Fire

Douglas Allen
1935 -




Oil on Board


17 x 26 inches


JKM Collection

Accession Number



Douglas Allen is known for his draftsmanship and the simplicity of his compositions. In this painting, Allen portrays three wolves surrounding a lone bison in what could be interpreted as either a playful or threatening situation. Two of the wolves hang back, displaying little trace of threat, while the third wolf runs alongside to harass the bison. The lead wolf exhibits human-like attributes in its taunting smile. Wolves establish eye contact with their prey to determine the animals physical and emotional state. If the animal appears weak or sick, the wolf may consider attacking the animal. In this image, the bison raises his tail, lowers his head, and angles his horns slightly forward, indicating alarm.

The long, thick fur of the bison is a crucial winter adaptation for insulation. Wolves also acquire a heavier fur coat during the winter. As active predators, wolves hunt in a pack and are well adapted for long distance travel. Their large feet facilitate swift, graceful movement over snow and crust in the winter, granting wolves a distinct advantage in preying on large ungulates.

About the Artist

Douglas Allen

Born: March 18, 1935, Jersey City, New Jersey

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Artwork: Playing with Fire by Douglas Allen
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