The Idaho Museum of Natural History will present an exhibition of the late Edson Fichter’s wildlife art, which will open on Sept. 8 in the museum’s seasonal gallery. A well-known Pocatello artist and biologist, Fichter was a wildlife illustrator, photographer and writer.
A zoology professor at Idaho State University from 1949 until 1975, he was a wildlife biologist known for his research on pronghorn behavior. Fichter was also instrumental in the founding of the Idaho Museum of Natural History and served as its first curator of mammalogy. He also taught wildlife illustration and other natural history classes at the museum for many years.
Fichter was a prolific artist and left a legacy of hundreds of drawings, photographs and poems that were collected by many admirers. His work has been featured in several publications, including “Pahsimeroi: Land Beyond Words,” a collection of his poems and drawings inspired by his pronghorn research in the Pahsimeroi River Valley near Mackay. Fichter was also co-author and illustrator of “The Amphibians of Idaho,” published by the museum in 1964.
“Although I never had the privilege to meet Fichter, I am a great admirer of his work –- both his art and his contribution to science,” said Dave Mead, IMNH exhibits manager who proposed the idea of the Fichter exhibit. “During a recent Audubon field trip to the Pahsimeroi Valley, Dr. Chuck Trost, a retired ISU ornithology professor and the museum’s curator emeritus of ornithology, showed me where Fichter’s field camp was during his pronghorn behavior. Chuck told me that Fichter would sit all day on a high ridge observing and recording pronghorn behavior – often watching them sleep for several hours.”
The exhibit will feature nearly 40 of Fichter’s artistic works, including drawings, photographs and poetry, as well as an overview of his life and career. The artwork consists of pieces owned by the IMNH and others pieces on loan from private collectors. The exhibit will open in conjunction with the Sagebrush Arts Fest, being held on the Idaho State University campus Sept. 9-10.
The exhibition will be open for public viewing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays. The museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays. For more information, call Frank Spaeth at (208) 282-6168.