Gold Lead Studios

frame fabrication, conservation, gilding


Current Exhibition


Diagram of Navy ship camouflage; Watercolor and pencil on paper Wood duck on a pond; early study for book Concealing-Coloration in the Animal Kingdom; Oil on board Downy Woodpecker; Watercolor on paper Plumage study of ducks in a natural environment with descriptive notes: early study for book Concealing-Coloration in the Animal Kingdom; Pen and ink on paper Head of a sparrow; Watercolor on paper

Abbott Handerson Thayer | A Beautiful Law of Nature

In the last twenty years of his life, Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849–1921) devoted himself to his Protective Coloration theories of animals in nature. Long since preoccupied with the powers of observation and a sensitivity to shape and color, the renowned artist and naturalist began to gather information on the coloration of birds in the early 1890s. Eventually he came to conclude that the patterned coats of most animals was a generalization or distillation of the features of those physical settings in which it was commonly found, a surface that would be absorbed into a greater variety of specific backdrops. He deemed this occurrence a “beautiful law of nature.”

The familiarity with optical effects he developed through these studies was thus of paramount importance when he began applying these same principles to the camouflage of military war vessels in the mid-to-late 1910s.

With this exhibit Gold Leaf Studios, representing the Abbott Handerson Thayer Trust, illuminates the context and progression of Thayer’s Protective Coloration findings into his work on military camouflage. Exhibiting his groundbreaking early camouflage designs for Navy ships and submarines alongside his optical studies of animals in and out of their natural environments, this collection of work shows Thayer’s devotion to the visual properties of the natural world and his attempts to employ their principles in aiding his country during wartime. Ultimately, this show also hopes to honor the legacy of this eccentric genius and great American painter and naturalist.

For further information please contact the studio.

The exhibition can be viewed by appointment only.

Full Press Release [PDF]



Past Exhibitions


Painting by Henry Niese

Henry Niese | The Painter's Palette 1956–2011
September 20–November 20, 2011

Born in New Jersey in 1924, Henry Niese studied painting at Cooper Union Art School, art history and painting at Columbia University, and painting at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris.

A pioneer of American contemporary art, Niese came of age as a painter in New York City in the 1950s where he became friendly with Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and William Carlos Williams. Niese exchanged ideas and critiques with these great American masters. Art historian Bill Kloss writes, "Niese learned from the best examples, found and absorbed what suited his own growing expressive imperatives, and created his identifiable pictorial language through intuition and conviction."

The paintings and drawings in the exhibition date from the mid-1950s to the present. The range of subject matter includes portraits, interiors, exteriors and landscapes. Each work demonstrates Niese's ability to capture the inherent structure and organization of living and non-living objects. Art critic, Martica Sawin wrote of Niese's paintings, "The pleasurable aspects of everyday life…are described in terms of glowing color and unusual design which is at once a strong two-dimensional composition and an admixture of narrowing and expanding perspectives…There is an engaging candor to these paintings as well as an involvement which goes beyond the simplicity of the subjects and their treatment…"

Niese is also a gifted storyteller, writer and teacher. He is the author of the book The Man Who Knew the Medicine: Bill Eagle Feather's Teaching , published in 2002. Niese taught at the Montclair Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, The Newark Museum, Yale, the University of Maryland and other venues. He resides on a farm in Glenelg, MD with his wife Paula.

For further information please contact the studio.

The exhibition can be viewed by appointment only.

Full Press Release [PDF]

Pictured above:
Henry Niese (b.1924)
Midnite Snow Blues
Oil on Canvas
36 x 48 inches