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Thayer, Abbott Handerson

THAYER, ABBOTT HANDERSON (1849- ), American artist, was born at Boston, Massachusetts, on the 12th of August 1849. He was a pupil of J. L. Ger&me at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, and became a member of the Society of American Artists (1879), of the National Academy of Design (1901), and of the Royal Academy of San Luca, Rome. As a painter of portraits, landscapes, animals and the ideal figure, he won high rank among American artists. Among his bestknown pictures are, " Virgin Enthroned," " Caritas," " In Memoriam, Robert Louis Stevenson," and " Portrait of a Young Woman "; and he did some decorative work for the Walker Art Building, Bowdoin College, Maine. Thayer is also well known as a naturalist. He developed a theory of " protective coloration " in animals (see COLOURS CF ANIMALS), which has attracted considerable attention among naturalists. According to this theory, " animals are painted by nature darkest on those parts which tend to be most lighted by the sky's light, and vice versa "; and the earth-brown of the upper parts, bathed in sky-light, equals the skylight colour of the belly, bathed in earth-yellow and shadow.

See his article, " The Law which underlies Protective Coloration," in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for 1897 (Washington, 1898); and Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom (New York, 1910), a summary of his discoveries, by his son, Gerald H. Thayer.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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