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 Katherine Furbish  (1834 - 1931)

About: Katherine Furbish


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Lived/Active: Maine      Known for: illustrator-botanic and insect

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Katherine Furbish is known for her drawing of an endangered species, the Furbish Lousewort, which was named after her. Years later, in 1976, it caused the U. S. government to halt construction on a huge dam in Dickey, Maine, while a debate raged with environmentalists. A lifelong resident and botanist of Brunswick, Maine, she painted more than a thousand meticulously accurate watercolors of flowers and plants, and assembled them into portfolios, "The Flora of Maine," which she presented to Bowdoin College in 1909.

Furbish began her hobby at the age of twelve with her father. A proper Victorian lady, she nevertheless crawled on hands and knees through the bogs of Maine (where only Indians had ever been before), traveled alone in the Aroostook wilderness between 1879 and 1881, and was almost trapped in a bog and devoured by mosquitoes. But, she lived to the age of ninety-seven. Bowdoin College now recognizes the exquisite quality and accuracy of the paintings which had gathered dust, unnoticed for many years.

(Information on the biography above is based on writings from the book, "American Women Artists", by Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein.)

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