Discover hidden gems, be resourceful, and have fun finding unique nature paintings for your home or cabin.
Owen Gromme, Harry Adamson, and David Maass… these are a few of many renowned artists that have created exceptional works of art, specifically naturalist and wildlife art. Hundreds of thousands of homes display paintings by these artists and other pieces that are similar. From flocks of Canada geese, to a striking Whitetail buck in a prairie, the settings these artists have created in their paintings are unique and unmatched. The colors and imagery bring the scene in the frame to life, and include extraordinary detail down to the individual leaves or the reflections on the water.
Although most often seen in vacation cabins or countryside residences, these paintings are a great addition to any home. Many would be considered one-of-a-kind, hard to come by, or vintage– whether they be a print or an original.
So the question is, where can you find them? You may want some pieces for your own home or cabin, but don’t know where (or how) to start your search to find the best wildlife artworks. Although you can buy prints and copies of famous wildlife paintings on individual artist websites, there are some you can only find in places you wouldn’t think to look first, and for a better price.
Here are a few of the best places to start your search for pieces of unique value:
Sounds touristy, but a true antique mall will be full of rare finds, including lots of great artwork. Most antique malls would be worth looking at for classic wildlife paintings. Whether it be the little hometown antique shop with unusual treasures, or a sizable antique mall off the side of the highway, it doesn’t hurt to make a quick stop. Although a majority of antique malls tend to have mostly glassware, jewelry and furniture, many have hidden gems that can only be spotted if you know what you are looking for. Hint: paintings hang on walls behind everything else on display.
Places that sell antiques tend to have “booths” or “sections” where an individual will sell similar or alike items. Many booths inside Wisconsin antique malls, for example, commonly have hunting, dairy, or beer themed booths. Whereas an antique mall in California tends to have booths themed towards vintage brand items, music records, and clothing.
Usually antique malls that have nature and wildlife paintings, such as works of Gromme or Maass, tend to be found at antique shops located in smaller towns, along highways, and farther outside major cities. Since the booths and sections tend to be supplied by local sellers, it is safe to assume people near or in the country tend to have more nature art in their possession to sell compared to those who supply the antique stores in the cities. The assumption is justified, but stopping at a vintage store in a city wouldn’t hurt if you want to truly search every opportunity.
Garage / Estate Sales
Cleaning out the attic, moving out of state, or a family member passed away– many people sell old family possessions for various reasons. Although it is often assumed that these sales are full of things that are not of much legitimate value, they should not be entirely overlooked.
Thousands of paintings and prints of wildlife are given away or sold at estate and garage sales every year. Some go unnoticed, but if you keep your eye out, one of these artworks may catch you by surprise. Even if you do not know the artist or recognize the work, a beautiful wildlife painting is value in itself. Hopefully, the previous owner took care of it and had it properly framed during ownership. Keeping paintings and prints properly stored is crucial to maintaining the value and condition.
Almost like a combination of an antique store and an estate sale, silent auctions are a great opportunity to find works like a Adamson or Gromme that feature wildlife, and to potentially get them for a competitive price while donating to a cause. Furthermore, there are better odds the pieces will be in great condition and have more significant value. There is also a better chance of the piece being original.
A great example of a silent auction are the ones that are hosted by Ducks Unlimited banquets. Usually all of the items are donated, and authenticated before being put up for auction. Ducks Unlimited auctions tend to include hunting equipment, guns, clothing, and works of art that portray wildlife. BMO Harris Bank once donated 900 Gromme prints to Ducks Unlimited for them to be sold at silent auctions and online. All the money from those sales went towards waterfowl conservation.
Whether you find paintings at these resourceful places or not, can simply depend on chance. But more often than not, wildlife paintings and prints appear at these locations frequently, especially antique shops. Of course there are the easier routes to getting such paintings, like Ebay or art resale websites… but doing so simply won’t compare to finding a painting in person and being able to take it home. And what you find online is already known, whereas going out and discovering these works in places you decide to search is arguably more exciting.